A Screenwriter’s Journey to Success: Tips, Tricks and Tactics to Survive as a Working Screenwriter in Hollywood, by screenwriter Mark Sanderson, is hands-down one of the best books I’ve ever read on the subject.
And that’s because it’s more than just your standard screenwriting tome. It’s not a how-to, it’s a how-to-be. Mark, a successful working writer with more than a dozen produced films to his name, lays out the foundation of how to build a solid career in this profession. As my own Hollywood career is seemingly finally starting to ramp up, I found myself going back to A Screenwriter’s Journey as a sort of refresher.
Here’s my review:
Now, there are dozens of writers out there who have written innumerable books on the craft of screenwriting: formatting, structure, those sorts of things. But where are the books that actually guide a budding scribe toward a realistically sustainable career? Sadly, I hadn’t found one before I came across Mark Sanderson‘s “A Screenwriter’s Journey to Success: Tips, Tricks and Tactics to Survive as a Working Screenwriter in Hollywood.” And, kids, it’s exactly what it says on the tin.
A little background: Mark is a working screenwriter with about a dozen produced films to his credit. If I was gonna take career advice from anyone, it was gonna be someone who’s actually doing it — and Mark is that guy. “A Screenwriter’s Journey to Success” lays it all out in easy-to-understand terms: The life of a working screenwriter is one that is filled with hills and valleys, highs and lows, and we must be prepared for whatever comes our way.
Written in a manner reminiscent of Stephen King‘s “On Writing,” “A Screenwriter’s Journey to Success” is a hybrid of memoir and career guidebook, offering tips and advice on such areas as taking meetings, dealing with executives’ notes, enduring development hell, losing your first (paid) writing gig, collaboration as a means of breaking in, and always — always — presenting yourself in a professional manner. It offers a grounded, yet still very optimistic, point of view for those seriously pursuing the vocation of screenwriting.
“The good news is that you can write anytime and anywhere until your last breath,” writes Mark. “That’s my ultimate plan.”
That’s my ultimate plan as well, and thanks to “A Screenwriter’s Journey to Success”, I feel all that much more prepared.
If you are looking to make a career out of screenwriting, this book is truly indispensable. I cannot recommend it enough. Pick up A Screenwriter’s Journey to Success: Tips, Tricks and Tactics to Survive as a Working Screenwriter in Hollywood at Amazon.
Novelist. Editor. Journalist. Screenwriter. Filmmaker. Chaotic neutral.