I got an email recently with a few questions in it:

“A few hours ago me and a friend of mine decided to write a story, soon to be screenplay, despite our total lack of credentials. We are both in college for, what I guess roughly translates to, Computer Engineering. So we have something to fall back on if this dream doesn´t come true. All we really have is our love of movies, good stories and what we believe is the ability to write something great.

Do you believe there is even a remote chance this can work? We wouldn’t have a way of financing it, we know no one in the industry, nor do we know anyone who would finance this. We have no desire to direct, mostly sell the script to a producer who can get someone to finance it.

Also, I would like to know if the writers remain involved in the process after the sale. Will me and my friend be able to accompany the entire process of turning a screenplay into a movie (if such a thing happens), or get entirely shut out?

Does the fact that we are from, and live, in another country (Portugal) worsen our chances?”

It can most definitely work. But that’s not the question. The real question is, is it worth the effort? How much are you willing to sacrifice and give up to make this dream a reality? If you’re just going to write a few scripts and send them out that’s probably not going to do much. But if you’re willing to devout your life to this pursuit, it can happen. But becoming a great screenwriter takes a lot of time, effort, and dedication. Most successful people in Hollywood didn’t have family or friends in the industry when they started. They began their career just as you are beginning your career now. But they stuck with it for many years and continued to work at their trade until they found success. So the question is, are you willing to take screenwriting seriously enough to give yourself a real chance to make it happen? It’s not for everyone and it’s certainly not a sin to decline the challenge. But it’s not going to happen easily.

In general you will probably sell your screenplay and all rights to it. It really depends how involved the producers want you and what sort of relationship you have with them. In some cases it will be little but in some cases they may keep you very involved. It really just depends.

And yes, living far away from Hollywood is a disadvantage for sure. Can you move to Los Angeles? Do you have that much dedication? There are lots of computer engineering jobs in LA (in fact there are a lot of all types of jobs in LA) so you should be able to find something to pay the bills while you pursue screenwriting. You also might try networking with local filmmakers to build up your resume. Check out this post: Breaking in to Hollywood from outside the United States.

In addition I’ve written a good number of posts about moving to and living here in Los Angeles. Check them out here: https://www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/tag/living-in-los-angeles/

Specially this post might be helpful: Do you have to live in Los Angeles to be a screenwriter?

4 thoughts on “Do you believe I can make it as a screenwriter?”
  1. Here’s an interesting thought which links (all be it tenuously) to the above email.

    As a would be screenwriter I am brimming with what I believe to be original ideas for movies; as I lack any scripting writing experience what I would like to do is sell treatments and movie developments. With this in mind, is there a service where I am able to submit movie developments with the potential it being sold?

    Alternatively are there any focus groups of interested script writers looking to collaborate with a rookies. My hope would be to work alongside a more experience writer, learning the ropes as we hack out my various ideas.

  2. This is a difficult business. There are so many people with the same dream that “making it” takes tremendous dedication and willingness to stay with it in spite of possible numerous rejections. Most really great writers never make it at all. I believe that opportunity happens at the right place, right time and under the right circumstances. How willing you are to pursue working and waiting for that opportunity dictates your success.

    The film industry is all over the world. Where you choose to present your work is really up to you. London has great film opportunities and many of those in the film industry are moving to the US East Coast to work their projects due to incentives provided by those states (So. Carolina, No. Carolina, Virginia, Florida – to name a few). You will have to choose to be tenacious about getting exposure and getting your screenplay into the right hands. Not an easy task, often daunting but still possible.

    Your involvement is usually lost in the development once sold. Should an independent producer pick up your screenplay, you may still have an opportunity to negotiate involvement. Funding comes through the exec. producer’s contacts – which is the trick in indie films.

    Again a tough business…not impossible to those who are dedicated and willing to work for their success (much like other industries). Good luck!!!

  3. It has been sometime since I have posted on this site. I previously asked a question some month ago about “New Show Studios” in reference to their credentials. For the most part all my research into this company really checked out. I have been working with them for sometime now working on getting my first screenplay off the ground. So far it has been a great honor working with this company. Their professionalism greatly reflects an ongoing business relationship that I will cherish.

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