There’s a lot to learn about screenwriting online. You can ask Google just about anything — from how to write an outline to how to get a screenwriting job. But often, the most valuable advice is the wisdom we can’t glean from a how-to guide, and so we were honored to be able to dig a little deeper with the sage screenwriting consultant Danny Manus.
Manus owns No Bullscript Consulting, and what you see is what you get: a no-nonsense approach to getting your script noticed. But his critique comes with two hard-learned lessons as well, lessons that he wishes he could tell his younger self and lessons he was quick to share with you, so you don’t make the same mistakes.
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1. Study Business
“What would I tell younger me? Study business,” he said without hesitation.
Screenwriting is about more than storytelling. You have to become a businessperson to make it a career. So, if you’re deciding what to study in school, now is the time to make an important decision about your focus. Do you get a degree in screenwriting from a prestigious screenwriting university?
“Screenwriting is wonderful,” Danny continued. “It makes for a great minor. But, I would tell myself to get a really good grasp on more than just screenwriting. As wonderful as a screenwriting major was, and sounds like, I’d tell myself to study business.”
Of course, a degree in either business or screenwriting is not a requirement for success. To learn, you needn’t look far online. Most pros also recommend cutting your teeth on several other filmmaking and TV production jobs to gain experience in what it takes to make that script of yours ultimately.
Just make sure that learning the business of screenwriting is as high a priority as learning the craft, so when opportunity strikes, you’ll be prepared for your big screenwriting break.
“You have to know more than just your one main thing,” he said. “Distribution and financing and all the other things that go along with screenwriting.”
Danny named five must-have screenwriting business tips, and we expounded on those for a quick-start guide to the filmmaking business.
2. Make Good Use of Your Time
In addition to becoming business-savvy, Danny says he also wishes he made better decisions about the use of his time. When you’re younger, you may have more time on your hands for hobbies than you ever will again. Develop your screenwriting discipline early and practice often. Consider making a screenwriting schedule.
“Make more time when you don’t have as many responsibilities, and you’re not running a business to do more writing and maybe a little less partying,” he concluded.
If you’re looking for more straightforward advice, Danny dishes it out daily on Twitter. As do we, so make sure you’re following @SoCreate and subscribe to our YouTube channel for frequent, quick video tips to stay sharp on all-things screenwriting — including business advice. When you’re ready to start writing, we hope you’ll try SoCreate Screenwriting Software on for size. You can sign up right here to be one of the first to test it out soon.
There’s no business like show business!