I get a lot of very passionate and pleading emails from wanna-be screenwriters who want me to turn them into the next Diablo Cody. They’re emails are almost always very personal and heartfelt.

I have some good news and some bad news.

The bad news is, I don’t hold the keys to your success. Sure, I have a few credits, but I struggle to get my own work read, optioned, and sold. I only have enough time to promote my own work, there are not enough hours in the day for me to spend time trying to promote the work of other writers. I’m not a Hollywood big wig who can just wave his magic wand at an up-and-coming screenwriter and turn her into a star. I mean seriously, look at my credits on IMDB.

But here’s the good news… while I don’t hold the keys to your success, you hold the keys to your own success!

I’ve sold a few scripts and optioned many more. I did it all on my own without the help or benefit of anyone else. And here’s some more good news, I explain exactly how I did it on this blog so you can do it too! That’s the secret sauce. That’s the magic bullet. That’s the answer you’ve been searching for. You can do it too, if you’re willing to do the work.

One thing I see all too often is people giving up before they’ve even given themselves a chance. You can succeed. You can make things happen for yourself. If… and it’s a really big if… if you’re willing to do the work. And “by doing the work” I don’t mean write one screenplay, email it to some guy with a few credits who you’ve never met, and hope that he’ll turn you into a star.

It’s not going to take a day, or a week, or even a year. It’s going to take years. Perhaps decades. Maybe even longer. But if you keep plugging away you can find some success in this industry.

I don’t have the juice in Hollywood to turn anyone into a star. I wish I did. But I don’t. In fact, no one really does. There are those stories of people like Diablo Cody who are overnight sensations, but that’s not how most people make it in this industry. Diablo Cody got really really really lucky. I’m not saying she’s not talented, but no matter how much talent she has her rise to fame is one that required an enormous amount of luck to work. You can’t count on luck.

I feel like a lot of the people who email me think I have some sort of secret to selling screenplays and that I’m holding back information. I’m not. I promise. Here are my IMDB credits: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0583488/. And to find out how I’ve sold these screenplays simply read my blog. I explain everything I know how to do as far as selling screenplays right here on the blog. And there isn’t anything I’ve done that you yourself can’t do. I don’t have some special secret that I’m not telling anyone. If you’re willing to do the work you can sell a few screenplays, just like I’ve done.

But be honest with yourself. If you’re not willing to do the work, that’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Spend your life doing things that are meaningful and fulfilling to you.

The way you’re going to make it in this industry as a screenwriter is to write a lot of scripts, keep improving as a writer, and spend a lot of time networking and marketing your material. My method may not be the best method, but it’s one that has gotten me a few credits so start with this post: How to Sell Your Screenplay (in a nutshell).

Keep writing and keep marketing your material. Eventually, you will find some success.

Good luck!

6 thoughts on “I don’t hold the keys to your success”
  1. Loved this, and I think it’s something we all need to be reminded of. So, thank you for this honest reality check. I have zero screenwriting credits, but was fortunate enough to have one of my scripts reach the quarterfinals round of the Nicholl last year. Nothing has come of it, but it gave me validation and some extra energy to keep going. I’m in the middle of my NINTH screenplay, and I think it’s FINALLY something I can really stand behind and believe in. It has been a lot of unpaid hours of work, but it’s all part of a greater journey towards a writing career.

  2. […] and I found this @AshleyMeyers. (IMDB LINK) the tweet was quite simple but it caught my eye. “I don’t hold your keys to success” with a link after it. That was a bold statement. Many thoughts came to mind. My keys to success? I […]

  3. I appreciate all your hard work on keeping this blog going.
    It’s very helpful and inspriing advice you’re giving, and obviously you care enough to put in the extra work here, when you could be spending it writing more screenplays!
    Keep up the good work!


  4. Hi, ashley:
    Love your blog and your e-mail promps…
    I have a question.

    How important is it to get your screenplays copyrighted before you start sending them out?

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