Tony Gilroy is one of my favorite writers. The first time I saw Michael Clayton and heard the story of how tough it was to get made (Imagine a lawyer but he’s never in the courtroom) and how long it took to go from idea to the screen (9 years). It gave me a lot of hope for projects that I work on that are mired in doubt, ego, and production snafu’s.
Just watched this video from Mr. Gilroy on the Screencraft site and they said it best:
In this BAFTA Guru video, Gilroy admits that despite being a working screenwriter, the guidelines that he offers are those that even he needs to remind himself of — pointing to the fact that even Oscar-nominated screenwriters struggle as much as novice screenwriters.
- You Cannot Teach Someone to be Imaginative (but you can destroy it)
- Begin with a Small Idea (Keep it simple)
- Play with It
- You Have to Know and Understand Human Behavior (people watch, people watch)
- Develop an Outline (Check out Writing the Blockbuster Novel for more info on this)
- Improve the Outlined Story While Writing the Actual Script (revise, revise, revise)
- It’s About Instincts, Not Formulas (Yes! See the first point)
Keep on writing and don’t be afraid to put your work out there. Don’t let the fear/doubt get you!