As a professional story analyst for the entertainment industry there are three questions I’ve been asked the most:
- How do I get an agent?
- How do I get a producer to read my script?
- How to I become a full-time writer?
I’ve answered the first question with my book “10 Ways to Get a Hollywood Agent to Call You” (available on Amazon), where I extensively go over ways to attract an agent and stand out from the crowd.
I answered the second question in my first published book on screenwriting “Extreme Screenwriting: Screenplay Writing Simplified” (available on Amazon). It saved time because at one point I counted nearly fifty calls and emails I’d answered in a single day. Clients can read the book and/or attend a 1 hours, 10 minute webinar on “How to Get a Producer to Call You” available at: http://bit.ly/2N7iv47
The third question on how to become a full-time writer I’m going to answer in this blog where I’ll propose two, outside-of-the-box methods that may or may not work for writers, depending on the writer’s willingness to try something new, stick with it and work toward a greater, sustainable long-term goal. After all, anyone who tells you something is easy is withholding a lie wrought with difficulty.
The first method asks the writer to take a different look at how they approach writing, while the second method shows the writer a way to unlock the dream of becoming a full-time writer using an in-direct method that’s unrelated to writing, but could potentially open the doors for the writer to live the dream of staying at home, writing all day and being their own boss!
So, let’s get started!
First, imagine you need every part of your car worked on and you go to the mechanic shop, but the mechanic only does tires. So, you have to go to another shop for the engine, and a third for body work. If that first mechanic had known how to work on all parts of the vehicle, he could have made a hefty sum of money. One could argue that specializing in something is a bonus. That might be true in the world of car repairs, but in writing it can be a hindrance to a career.
When I first started in the biz, a producer called me in for a meeting after reading one of my screenplays. I was so excited. This was it! I was going to make a sale, be famous and become a full-time screenwriter. Well, no! The producer wanted to hire me, based on the read, to rewrite a screenplay she’d optioned. I was shocked and frankly a bit appalled. I turned her down flat! I wasn’t interested in script doctoring. When I got my first agent, she shockingly told me I was an exceptional writer, but wouldn’t last long because I wasn’t flexible. I had turned down several writing assignments. She was right!
Being flexible in the industry means being open to rewriting other writers and accepting assignments. It’s one way to create a full-time career and can be very lucrative, but let’s move beyond the obvious. For this article, I want the writer to consider different writing styles and learning an entirely new skill set. For example, a screenwriter that learns how to adapt novels for motion picture can become a hot commodity in town. I know because I’ve adapted over 40 novels for motion picture and made-for-TV movies and around 60% of these assignments came from word-of-mouth. Or the novelist who knows how to write screenplay. Or the TV writer who turns a pilot into a screenplay, magazine article or even a promotional blog. Each of these mediums requires a different writing style with different rules and the formats that vary. Becoming a master at different writing styles can assure the writer’s in demand and lead to quitting a day job because the writer’s obtained a full-time status.
Secondly, beyond learning how to write in different mediums, I advocate learning how to write in ALL the genres! It’s true that most writers have a favorite genre and often tend to stick with it, but it’s extremely career-limiting in a fiercely competitive marketplace. It’s the writers that can write horror, comedy, suspense thriller, action, romance, and film noir that have lifelong careers rather than one sale in a decade that lands them back at a day job telling stories about their one-hit wonder in Hollywood.
How do you expand your horizons? Start by learning the rules, styles and formats for the different mediums. The Extreme Screenwriting book I mentioned above includes Chapters on how to write for every genre and if you can pick up my book on TV writing on Amazon it covers television writing. There are plenty of books on how to write a novel on Amazon. Pick one up. Sorry, I haven’t written a book on how to adapt a novel into a screenplay, but stay tuned. If you want to take on this task and make some impressive money, but aren’t sure you’re ready to tackle it alone, contact me with the gig, we’ll discuss a financial split and I’ll help you with the writing. It’ll be our little secret and you’ll learn the process from a pro.
After you’ve mastered the style, formats and genres, then advertise it to the industry. How? When you market, add this information into your queries. For example, after the basic script information, indicate that you’re also available for script doctoring or ghostwriting and offer to send sample pages. If you know the producer has made movies from adapted books, then mention you adapt books for motion picture. Even if you don’t get a read for your own script, you could land a lucrative writing gig with a producer!
Lastly, you can even solicit to help other writers! You can help them revise material as a ghostwriter-for-hire or adapt their screenplay into a book or vice versa. The skies the limit when you’ve mastered a skill set that covers a wide spectrum of writing mediums! After a while, you’ll start to get word-of-mouth referrals and producers coming out of the woodwork to have you help them with dialogue, scenes, characters, plots and novelists who want to see their books up on the silver screen. This method could potentially lead you to quitting your day job and becoming a full-time writer! It’s all a . matter of flexibility!
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The problem with the first method I outlined above is that many writers don’t want to rewrite other writers, they don’t want to do assignments or learn other genres, styles or formats. They’re perfectly comfortable with their own style of writing in a chosen genre. Frankly, all they want to do is write their own material, sell it and live the life of a full-time writer.
Unfortunately for these writers, it often becomes an elusive dream that leaves the writer sitting around year after year waiting and hoping for a sale so they can finally quit their day job and live their dream! It saddens me to see this. There has to be another way to live the dream of being a full-time writer without the misery noted herein. And it’s even sadder when the writer does make a sale, only to end up back at a day job a few years later when the sale monies run out, assuming there isn’t subsequent sales. It’s a statistical fact that 8 out of 10 screenwriters only manage a single, low-six figure sale in a decade and if they aren’t open to the alternative types of writing noted above, they’re left with an empty piggy bank.
First, it’s practical to say that most aspiring writers can’t leave a day job because they have to make a living. Unfortunately, selling time for money can often stand in the way of writing that has to be squeezed into a busy schedule of work, family and other obligations, not to mention marketing, which in itself a full-time job. It can be disheartening and zap the writer’s motivation, especially if the writer’s been struggling for years to obtain the dream.
So, let’s jump into a new, think outside the box method that could potentially lead to the writer quitting their day job and becoming a full-time writer even WITHOUT A SALE! Can you imagine spending your day on your own terms? Writing in the comfort of your own home, in the park, on the beach, while riding the train, having lunch in the cafe or relaxing on the porch swing? Imagine having all day (or night) to write, setting your own schedule and finally living the dream of being a full-time writer.
Let me ask you a question. When is the last time you purchased something on the Internet? Did you know that 60% of American households purchase products, services and digital downloads on a regular basis on-line? Even more so during the holidays! It’s a multi-billion dollar a year business. What if you could tap into a tiny piece of that revenue? Set up a revenue generating system and let it run on auto-pilot, only having to work at it a few hours a week, leaving the remainder of time to WRITE!
I’d like to tell you about a gentleman named John Crestani, a self-made millionaire, who was fired from his day job and developed a system for working at home, via computer, tapping into this lucrative revenue stream to earn a substantial living. John’s results aren’t typical and it goes without saying that you only get out of something what you put into it.
Frankly, I was a bit skeptical. I certainly had heard of remote working or virtual assistants and people who do surveys on-line for money, but I doubted a person could make a full-time income, let alone become a millionaire, like John, except people do — all the time! Forget the get rich quick stuff. We’re talking ’bout a comfortable living that allows the writer to quit a day job and live the dream of writing all day!
I know you’re wondering what does this guy do? How does he do it? Well, first, I’d like to tell you that I decided to give his free training a try and see if his method actually worked before recommending it to writers. I implemented his technique on a very small scale, setting it up in around 30 minutes, then let it run on auto-pilot. I went about my daily work, went to sleep and the next day, after around 14-hours later, I took a peek at the results, not expecting to find any, and was shocked to discover I’d made $212.07! It’s not a lot money, but I was stunned at what I had made for 30 minutes of work. If a writer did this a few hours a week and scaled it up, per John’s instructions, the potential could be enormous!
I’m no expert on how to make money on-line, but John is, so I’d like you to take the next 17 minutes and watch the video below. It provides a quick overview of what you’ve already read in this blog, then I’ll introduce you to John and let him tell you the rest and he has a MUST SEE, on-line, free training course you can access via the link under the video.
If you’d like to attend John’s Free Training, please sign up here: http://bit.ly/2PgWjar
I sincerely hope this blog was helpful in providing alternative ways to quit your day job and become a full-time writer. While there’s no guarantee of success, if you haven’t made a sale and you’re still dreaming of living the life of a writer, isn’t it worth taking the time to try something new? Life is short and it’s time to stop waiting and hoping and start living the life of a writer!
Best Always and Keep Writing!