Jan 13 2010

Some advice for authors interested in writing screenplays and/or video games

Superhero Nation specializes in writing advice related to novels and comic books.  Are you looking for advice about how to write movies, TV shows, video games, poetry or songs?  If so, I’d recommend asking professionals (or at least well-read amateurs) that actually know your field.  Here are some tips about how to get advice from professionals in your field.

 

1.  Read some how-to books. For example, I did a quick Amazon search for “video game jobs” and there were 654 results.   “Screenwriting jobs” got 234 results.  Pick out a few that look relevant.

 

2.  People love talking about themselves, so it’s frequently effective to ask a professional how he entered the field. He/she may offer a few tips about how you might get a job.  You can find industry professionals on LinkedIn or by checking relevant departments at a university near you.  For example, if I were interested in becoming a Hollywood writer, I might ask professors in Notre Dame’s Film, Television and Theatre Department.

3.  If you ask a professional for advice, be articulate and polite. Write as carefully as possible because a letter riddled with typos will probably make you look like a hopeless amateur.  Also, make sure you open the letter with something polite like “Dear Jane Merryman,” or whatever her name is.  Do NOT use a phrase like “To Whom It May Concern”–it will be painfully obvious that you haven’t even figured out what his/her name is.  No one will take you seriously unless you’ve put some thought into your request for help.

 

4. Read some industry blogs, preferably with an instructive angle. “Screenwriting advice” got me 350,000 results on Google.

 

5.  If possible, take some classes in the field. I took a course on trends in cinema and that helped expose me to movies and techniques I probably wouldn’t have seen otherwise.

 

If you’re looking for help with these other sorts of writing, please find someone that can actually help you!   If you insist on asking me for help with a project even after I have explained my lack of qualifications/experience/interest/enthusiasm, I reserve the right to unleash gentle ridicule.

9 responses so far

9 Responses to “Some advice for authors interested in writing screenplays and/or video games”

  1. B. Macon 13 Jan 2010 at 2:49 am

    Writing contest time. Fill in the following line. Multiple submissions are encouraged.

    “Asking B. Mac for screenwriting advice is like…”

    Here are some examples. What do you think?

    –Asking B. Mac for screenwriting advice is like doing a raindance during a drought. It may make you feel better about how screwed you are, but it won’t actually work.
    –Asking B. Mac for screenwriting advice is like asking a cropduster pilot to fly a fighter jet. Which is ****ing stupid, by the way. The only way that could NOT be the goofiest part of a movie is if you have someone hack an alien spaceship with an Apple.
    –Asking B. Mac for screenwriting advice is worse than asking a psychiatrist to oversee open-heart surgery. (At least the psychiatrist has a medical degree).

  2. Scribblaron 13 Jan 2010 at 6:39 am

    Asking B Mac for screenwriting advice is better than asking B Mac for comic writing advice?

    Have I got the hang of it? ;P

    Asking B Mac for screenwriting advice is like taking your skis to the Sahara.

  3. Tomon 13 Jan 2010 at 8:12 am

    Have there been people asking about video games here? I’ve been thinking for a while now that the industry needs more good writers.

    What? Oh, asking blah blah is like asking Jhonen Vasquez to make a kid’s tv show.

  4. B. Macon 13 Jan 2010 at 9:57 am

    A few, including one recently.

  5. Lighting Manon 13 Jan 2010 at 1:14 pm

    Asking B. Mac for screenplay writing advice is like having Michael Bay direct Titanic, the butler did it and was darn sexy while doing it, but it isn’t right for you because the butler was a robot…in disguise! Boom! Explodey!

    Asking B. Mac for video game writing advice results in a nice little article and a humorous writing contest below it.

    Asking B. Mac for video game writing advice is like watching Twilight in reverse, everyone puts their shirts back on and is better off for having avoided it.

    Asking B. Mac for screenplay writing advice is like asking Stephanie Meyer for advice on characterization, you’ll get a weird look and then understand why that guy’s head exploded in Scanners.

    Briefer version, Asking B. Mac for video game writing advice is like this, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HY-03vYYAjA

  6. Tomon 13 Jan 2010 at 1:55 pm

    “Asking B. Mac for video game writing advice results in a nice little article and a humorous writing contest below it.”

    Whoa. Meta.

  7. B. Macon 13 Jan 2010 at 2:58 pm

    “it isn’t right for you because the butler was a robot…in disguise! Boom! Explodey!” I think I’ve seen that Michael Bay movie! :)

  8. RPG-92on 06 Feb 2010 at 7:49 am

    Hello Im Roger I was given the suggestion here is where I could go to show my idea for a superhero show. I took so long to do it cus I neede to cpyright it (which I finnaly did :D ) He it goes-

    First episode: This two spies working for the EFP break into a secret base. The base is the a lab for the 3rd Cerebral 10. They want to steal the Infinity Formula. They infiltrate the base correctfuly but one of the spies betrays the other. The spy who was good was sending the Infinity Formula on a laser thing. The bad spy shot the laser and the laser thing so it malfunctioned and it begun to shoot the other half in the other direction. Nick (the hero) after having a bad day. recives the Infinity Formula (by acident). The Infinity Formula was not ready yet so he freaks out. He hit an energy source which calmed him down and made him pass out. He woke up next morning not remebering anything. He goes to school and has a great day (using his powers). He shoots out some energy freaking out his brother and his friend. The brother (who is a genius) scans his body. He has no idea what he has. He only knows that he has an energy alteration and a new base pair (DNA). He is then guilted into being a hero. There is a bank robbery. He has to go save the day. He runs past the police and into the Bank. The Robbers are suprised to see how fast he got in. Nick gets bored and decides to leave but he sees his father and is suprised. One of the Robbers hits him on the back of the head with a gun. He is knocked out. Nick has to chase the robbers who have got away with a helicopter and a million dollars. Nick chases after them at superspeed. He sees them in the sky and blasts the tail of the helicopter. The fall from the sky. The helicopter is falling towards a baseball game. Nick instead of catching the helicopter he tackles it out of the way into a tree. Nick confronts and beats the robbers. When the police get there, Nick is gone and the three robbers turn out to be pacients from a phsiciatric ward. No one knows how they planned it all out. Youd think no one but Nick, his brother and Chris know he’s a hero. Wrong! The EFD found out. They are now trying to figure out what they are going to do with Nick. Woah thats alot XD-judge it please.

  9. B. Macon 06 Feb 2010 at 9:14 am

    (Slaps forehead).

    Okay, I’m going to put this as delicately as I can. Asking for TV-writing advice here is seriously unwise.

    Pretty much anybody but Tom would get ridiculed for it, and Tom is seriously talented. He promises less and delivers more. Also, he’s fun to work with.

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