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8 Life Lessons That Screenwriting Has Taught Me

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(Wrote this yesterday….) Tonight I graduate! Wow, I have never stated that in nicely over ten years, however it’s true! I’m headed to the certificate ceremony for a program I’ve been in for the past yr at UCLA.

This previous yr I participated in UCLA’s TFT Professional Program for TV Screenwriting, one-hour drama being my chosen monitor. And apart from learning easy methods to write a script, the artwork of screenwriting has taught me some very common life lessons that I needed to share with you…

Me. The past few years have been difficult for me. Lots of private stuff to juggle and I had been feeling a bit caught, stalled and uninspired in some ways. This program has really introduced me again in tune with my creativity, my daydreams and my drive to stay life to it’s fullest and challenge myself each time potential. There have been a couple of occasions I needed to give up. Many occasions I felt like I had no clue what the heck I was doing and hated feeling like I used to be an outsider on this brand new group. But I pushed by means of and met some superb individuals and really feel very pleased with myself in some ways. So yeah, to put it simply… feeling good right now feels actually good. I am going to sunbathe in this warmth for as long as I can.

Screenwriting happening….

After the ceremony at The Broad at UCLA..

First off, once I tell individuals about this system they all the time ask “Why did you do this???”

My why is fairly simple…

1) I am a writer. And needed to explore a brand new form of my craft.

2) I missed fiction!! The past twelve years I’ve been writing non-fiction. Essays and blogposts, recipes and cookbooks. In faculty, artistic writing (shoutout to Mr.Foltz) was all the time my favourite class. I missed creating characters, telling stories. Using all that life has delivered to me and twirling it up into a story just waiting to be shared.

And 3) I just all the time needed to write down a script! Costumes, lighting, cameras, actors, make-up, writers, directors – I’ve all the time fan-girled over the magic of storytelling on display. And I have had so many story concepts through the years, I simply by no means knew learn how to flip them right into a script.

But I’m a realist and I understand how crazy competitive this business is. So actually, in the long run just getting by way of the program with three one-hour TV scripts in hand can be a huge accomplishment. And I discovered that I ended with that —- and a lot extra…

Oh hey, UCLA toilet selfies, student-ing…


Royce Hall, UCLA, the place we had our weekly lecture.

8 Life Lessons That Screenwriting Has Taught Me

1. Don’t Write Passive Characters – Don’t Be a Passive Character in Your Own Life.

This is probably the greatest present that this craft has taught me. Number one rule for creating characters – your protagonist must be lively, not passive. Your protagonist must be making selections, going after what they need, not letting challenges push them around or dictate their story. Passive characters do not do much, they only let the story move them along they usually just have issues handed to them. Opportunities pop up and different characters assist them – not what you want. Active characters are driving their story. They get artful, scrappy, take risks, ask for issues, demand things and have ardour for their objectives and needs.

Every character – every person needs something. Figure out what it’s and go after it.

We are all of the protagonists in our own tales. You, me, everyone. And if you want to achieve your objectives you will want to be that lively character. (And objectives may be something… I’m not just talking fame and fortune. Happiness, stability, peace, wellness…)

Passivity happens to all of us at occasions, however sooner or later we might be given a selection, can we back down and settle? Or can we go after one thing with power – even when that’s most undoubtedly the tougher, scary, patience-needed life path. Are your needs that necessary to you? How much will you push to realize your objectives?

This is your story. This is your one life. You are the primary character in your personal story. You are the protagonist. Go for it. Be true to your self and to your goals and objectives in life. And when you will have these selections staring you in the face and worry is getting the better of you, ask your self what your important character would do?

You can solely be courageous if you end up dealing with scary things. And one of the best protagonists are brave. Be brave. Be lively. Don’t let others dictate your story. I am scared too. But let’s be courageous collectively.

2. Hard Work is at the Core of Everything.

I’m not afraid of slightly exhausting work. That has all the time been a strength of mine. And in terms of screenwriting, you’ll be able to speak about your story for days and days. Think about it. Research it. But on the end of the day it really does take an enormous chunk of time over days and weeks – and months – and perhaps even years – of simply sitting in front of your display typing in your keyboard. In your personal head. Using the tools inside your body, mind and spirit. Only you can do it.

When I am writing a primary draft of a script, I’ve days where eight hours will literally simply fly by as I sort all the scenes and dialogue in my head out onto the page. I wish to name it ‘being in the zone’ the identical means a marathon runner may feel for the first ten miles of a race – I’m guessing sooner or later these miles just fly by since you are doing what you’re keen on.

So sit down. Do the work. And take the rewards.

Get off your telephone. Shut out the world, and do this factor that is necessary to you.

And finally, I discovered that in artistic writing, writing is re-writing.

3. Fail Once. Fail Twice. Fail Again! Then Get Back Up!

Failure is superior. Seriously. The more you do it, the more you understand how awesome it’s. It creates character. It provides you a sense of humor. It pushes you to do better the subsequent time … or work out what you truly do not care abut. I ‘failed’ various occasions on this program. Failed at delivering homework on time. Failed at speaking the factor I needed to communicated in my script. Failed at good story structure. Failed at socializing as a lot as I might. Failed at speaking to individuals once I received scared. Failed at making an attempt to not give a f**okay about opinions that harm my feelings. But you recognize what, I did not die. I survived. And I feel a lot progress from these failures.

Those failures truly made my successes so much sweeter! When I did something good or GREAT, I felt that rather more superb. Failing sucks. Leaving class and bursting into tears in your automotive because you disenchanted your self sucks. Not being good is tough (for individuals like me who grew up feeling that need.) And waving your arms within the air saying “You got me! I’m human!!!” (Not actually, but symbolically….) is so humbling.

You will fail whenever you challenge your self. In your career, in life, relationships, cooking, all the things! But you will come out on the other aspect.

Failure additionally exhibits you what you’re keen on. If you fail and say “Well that sucked, I’m kinda done.” Then nice! But whenever you fail and say, “Geez, I sucked at that, but I want to be GREAT, SO BADLY!!!!” Try once more! That…. is where your true passions will pop up.

4. People Matter.

When enrolling on this program I had the option to do an in-person class or online. I chose in-person because a part of what I used to be craving from this journey was individuals. Relationships. Eye contact. Warmth from feeling like you’re part of a workforce, a group. While I don’t do nicely in super giant teams, I was really joyful to see that the person workshops have been limited to 10 individuals. Small teams are my jam.

I’m naturally introverted. But I actually tried. I held my shit together, more often than not and showed up and related with the opposite students. I appreciated them a lot in the program they usually have been all so freaking gifted. It all the time shocked me when any of them confessed about feeling insecure, as a result of they are all superb! It simply goes to point out we’re certainly our own worse critics.

Since I used to be model new to this craft, I started out quiet, not sure of my opinions when giving suggestions and not sure if the others might tell that I had no clue what the heck I used to be doing. But as I gained more confidence, I spoke up more and shaped a thicker pores and skin for receiving suggestions too. I mean, blogging for twelve years undoubtedly helps me have a thick pores and skin.

You guys understand how screen-heavy our private interactions are nowadays. I imply, you are reading this on a display. But I hope we all have opportunities to connect with real stay individuals. And not just co-workers or family and buddies. A various group of people who you won’t otherwise hang out with. People outdoors your bubble. Easier stated than finished, however once you find the courage inside yourself (I’m talking to you fellow artistic introverts!) you already know the top rewards will assist you to long run and people interactions will stay with you.

And let’s be trustworthy, typically interactions with others might be challenging. We do not ‘click on’ with everybody. And that’s ok. Being respectful and type is number one, guys. And don’t let anyone make you are feeling dangerous or shake your emotions – apply makes good with this.

5. Creativity + Art + Expression is Always Valuable.

The number of hours I spent scripting this past yr have been kinda insane. Hours and hours. Saturdays and Sundays. Sometimes, once I was feeling unfavorable, I questioned if this was all a waste of time.

Well, spoiler alert, it wasn’t and it isn’t.

Creativity, art and expressions of yourself are never a waste of time. Not solely are they good in your parasympathetic nervous system, but they assist develop elements of your brain that you simply could be ignoring in your everyday life.

And once I say artistic actions, I really imply just about any new pastime you may attempt. Yoga, cooking, images, pottery, gardening…. Activities, finished only for the sake of joy and studying and expression are so therapeutic for my part.

So in case you are a recovering perfectionist like me and assume that every exercise must help your career objectives or deliver some measurable worth into your life, cease! Just do the joyful things. The artistic things. I promise, you’re absolutely being productive in nurturing the joy and depth of your life.

6. Tell The Stories That Need to Be Told. Tell Your Stories. Someone is Listening.

From this program, I now have a a lot richer appreciation for the art of storytelling.

I all the time needed to be a better storyteller
. You know these individuals at parties that simply have the BEST tales? And they open their mouthes and other people just flock to them? I might never do this. And perhaps I’m nonetheless not one of the best at it in social situations, however in my writing, I lastly really feel like I know how to make a story fascinating, impactful, trustworthy and essential.

I have all the time liked artistic writing. And now I finally know find out how to turn those footage in my head into full blown stories.

One thing our head instructor Neil Landau all the time says is this: “Why this story? Why you? Why now?”

And to me that brings every part I’ve carried out with my blog into screenwriting. Here on HHL, I’ve advised many lots of my own tales. Some dramatic, some exciting, some humorous, some sad. And screenwriting, though it’s fiction, completely puts you as the author on the web page. We all have so many tales inside us simply ready to be informed. TELL THEM.

Tell them to a pal. Tell them to your loved ones. Tell them on a blog. In an Instagram caption. Tell them on YouTube. Tell them on Twitter. Tell them in a script.

Stories can change the world. And they will change the best way individuals see your world. (Wait, did not Tyrion Lannister say that?….)

7. When You Don’t Have Confidence…. Remember This.

There have been many occasions once I needed to give up this program – the first quarter, really. I felt I didn’t belonged. I assumed everyone questioned why a cookbook author was right here. That in fact, was all in my head. Self-loathing and self-sabotage. And as a lot as my husband reminded me how gifted I used to be and that I was courageous for even doing this, the one thing that all the time perked me up and gave me confidence was this..

POV. There is one person on the planet, within the history of the universe that has your perspective, your perspective. That is unique. That is necessary. You are essential. Never downplay who you’re, or be afraid of your weaknesses. Everyone is a piece in progress. But the one thing that you will all the time have in your again pocket is your life expertise. And that issues. I do not care who you’re or what your story is – your perspective is so necessary. Now present your self some self compassion. Then go on the market and use your voice. Not everyone will like what you need to say – and that’s ok!

8. When All Else Fails: SMILE. (For you, no one else…)

By the top of this system, I might really feel the fatigue setting in. Not of the writing – I might do that each one day lengthy. But of the social features. Being advised that it’s a must to community like crazy, speak to different writers, be a part of a author’s group! All that stuff socially exhausts me at occasions. And I might see other college students growing fatigued in different methods. But in the long run, I feel all of us just trekked on. And whenever you really feel a twinge of eager to scream into a pillow, significantly, simply attempt it…. Smile!

And necessary: I do not imply “smile” to please anyone else. Smile for YOU. Only you. Smile about the fact that you’re doing something. Experiencing something. Growing.

Smile when issues are exhausting as a result of in the long run, you’ll study something from dwelling your life to it’s fullest.

And I am going to end with one in every of my favourite quotes for writer’s and non-writer’s too!

“Never regret. When it’s GOOD: it’s Great. When it’s BAD: It’s experience.”

And for a writer, that would imply…. “When it’s GOOD: it’s Great. When it’s BAD: It’s great material for your writing!”

*discovered on the internets, unknown credit

So sure, I’ll maintain writing and screenwriting. I am truly working on a fun aspect undertaking with one among my vegan blogger associates and I submitted to all the screenwriting fellowships. It’s something I need to proceed doing and continue studying from and utilizing as a software to share MY tales.

If you’re a screenwriter, I might absolutely LOVE to attach with you! Leave a comment of DM me on social.

Also take a look at my screenwriting page on KathyPatalsky.com

And in case you have any questions concerning the UCLA Professional Program in Screenwriting, I am glad to share extra of my expertise.

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