The Professional Writer: But I’m an artist. Get over it.

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The other day I had a long telephone conversation with an aspiring screenwriter.  His script was way over the current script length for a professional production.  I told him that his script would be tossed before the title page was read at that length.  He replied, “But I’m an artist.”  He then went on to tell me all the reasons why he could not shorten the length.

Starting with this attitude he is setting himself up for failure as a professional on two counts.  First, his script will not be read at that length.  Second, an equally important, the attitude itself will hinder his communications with agents, editors, producers, and the like.

You have to make a choice.  The professional writer gets paid real money for her work.  If you want that money you need to follow industry guidelines.  For this aspiring script writer that would be keeping within the current industry standard for script length which is 100 pages to 110 pages maximum.

Whether your story is a film script or a novel you need to approach your work and the professionals in the industry with a positive and professional attitude.  Film scripts go through many changes and revisions before the final cut.  Agents and editors will suggest revisions for your story manuscript.  A professional gets to work and makes the changes.

Perseverance and a positive attitude amenable to changes are two qualities to help you build your professional persona.  They will help you at the beginning and will continue to build your professional career.

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