THE EXPLODING SCRIBOSPHERE

(Ed. Note: Entry originally entitled “The Exploding Blogosphere”. Changed to “Scribosphere” courtesy of Craig Mazin. See below.)

BOMBNobody knows nothing. When I started The Thinking Writer about four years ago, I coded each page in HTML and recoded the home page every time I added an article. It was time consuming and it had no ability for reader comments. I had never heard of a blog. A few years later, I discovered blogging software. Poof – the new Thinking Writer was born. When I first put up this blog, I located only one other screenwriting blog, johnaugust.com. If there were more, they were pretty well hidden.

Flash-forward to today and the screenwriting blogosphere is exploding. From A-list writers (like the folks at Artful Writer) to a guy who read a hack book on how to write “Screenplays That Sell” and is about to start his first draft of his first idea (link omitted) to those in between (including me), everyone has something to say about screenwriting. It seems that it’s much easier to “be a screenwriter” on your blog than to actually make a living writing movies.

And everyone is offering advice….

Do these people (including me) know anything? Well, not really. Even at the A-lister level, they can’t agree on much. At least they’ve proven they can write and build a career. But they haven’t proven they can show you how to do it. Then there are those with a modicum of experience (like me) who sound like we know a lot. It’s just a writing trick, really. None of us has any magic answers. Then there are the complete amateurs who’ve never worked in Hollywood, never sold a script, sometimes never even really written a script. Still, they have a lot of advice to give, too. And they are more certain than any of us of the right answers.

So is any of this noise worth anything?

Well…sure it is. Listen to everything and everyone. Stay inside the conversation of screenwriting. Pick up ideas wherever you can. You never know when someone will say something that makes a difference. (I heard something from Craig Mazin just the other day that made a difference for me. He said that he considers the job to be writing movies, not writing screenplays. Nice distinction.)

But here’s the kicker. If you’re not writing, the advice means nothing because none of it translates directly into execution. You can’t tell a damn in the thinking about writing. It’s not like computer programming, where you learn a principle and simply use logic to apply it later. No, writing is like playing piano. You must do it to learn it. In the doing, you find out if the advice held any benefit.

So next time you read some great advice here or on any writing blog, just know, we don’t know. We only think we know. And we only think we know what works for us. The only way for you to know what works for you is to do. Look, learn, then do…and do and do and do….

Got it? Good. Now go write.

20 thoughts on “THE EXPLODING SCRIBOSPHERE”

  1. I was thinking the same thing recently after reading The Artful Writer debates over Outline Pro or Con? and the most recent one about the oversaturation of screenwriting teachers. There is a ton of information in the blogosphere and beyond. This is where the writer really needs to keep his or her head screwed on straight because it has the potential to just be noise. The need to be tapped into what’s going on every minute of every day in the life of a screenwriter. Craft or business or what the person ate for breakfast. I think these debates can be very useful but only you as the writer can determine what will get the best work on the page. Take what flips that light on in your mind and never let all this “noise” become the primary goal of your writing day which should be writing.

  2. Good points! When I started writing – am I sounding like my grandfather now walking to school in the snow? There were only self help books, so I bought about 12 and got thoroughly confused. But in the end I trusted the things that made sense to me, and dropped the white noise. Soon I was crafting a career. I think your advice is dead on – anyone can hold the magic key to a secret door, regardless of experience. And if they can communicate it to anyone so that so it makes sense, then hurrah! It means you may find inspiration anywhere. The only trouble is all the crap one has to wade through that may be full of attitude and in the end signify nothing. We can only trust those things that seem to make sense to use, and speak to us, and the only way to find them is to pull your head out of the sand and look around. I’m thrilled at all the stuff I see on the web now, and find inspiration there too. Which is why I started my own site (thanks for the link!) I enjoy yours too, and your now linked as well!

  3. tw

    oh, forgive me. but, i know. i know i know. oh, yes. don’t make me use exclamation points…

  4. Yeah, you know, I agree with every damned word you said (especially the part about none of us knowing anything).

    Still, I can’t help but feel like the scribosphere (if that catches on, then save this comment, because I just coined it this instant) is helping build a collective body of general wisdom, and that’s a good thing.

  5. To me, the exploding scribesphere has been truly a wonderful thing, not only for the information that’s given, but the specificity of that information – we can post a question to you regarding a situation and get an answer (like the director who wants to change some poor writers short script) from someone who’s been there before. Especially for those of us outside the biz working our way inward, it’s truly a great thing.

    I had a playwrighting mentor years ago when I started, which was very important to my development and, I think, important to a lot of artist’s development – and the one thing I’ve missed since I started doing the screenwriting thing on an indie basis was having a mentor for that as well.

    Though the relationship via the internet is obviously different than the personal relationship someone gets from a mentor, it’s edifying and challenging and comforting all the same.

  6. i used spend a lot of time on a popular screenwriting discussion board. a lot of offensive behavior over there. nasty, poorly informed, poorly written slog. degrades to name calling on regular basis.

    have recently discovered this (and other) blogs. very refreshing. good information. good atmosphere. really, at times, inspirational.

    i’ll take it

  7. You mentioned ‘a guy who read a hack book on how to write “Screenplays That Sell” and is about to start his first draft of his first idea’. Could you post or e-mail me the link to that guy? I’m pretty much at the same point in my screenwriting journey as that guy and I’d like to compare notes, exchanges thoughts, etc with him.

    Thanks

  8. I don’t believe the blog I was referring to is still around and I don’t remember the URL. (How’s that for taking the 5th?) Welcome to the Scribosphere. Good luck with your script.

  9. The problem with screenwriting is it’s an activity learnt and practiced in isolation… and, there isn’t an apprenticeship where you go and learn how to do it.

    So, as a result people learn by trial and error… you write it, you make it… you see if it works on screen and then you figure out how you could have done it better.

    What the blogosphere has done, is make public the thinking and experiences of other screenwriters and, like in any other practice, some are insightful, some are good at explaining their process and some are hopeless.

    Personally I think the attitude of “because people can’t agree on what needs teaching,” that therefore there is nothing to either teach or learn is just plain wrong. Screen writing is not “technique-less.”

    Where I do have a problem with the blogosphere is it’s a perfect avoidance device… so, for instance, why am I writing this comment when I should be working on my scripts?

  10. thanks, I will be checking on this. If you have data plaese post it here or send to . I am monitoring my campaigns using an ad tracker provided by Traffic Wave. I have been testing a lot lately to check whether these advertising that pays programs have real advertising value aside from the potential income. So if you got a verifiable data, it will cut the chase instead of me testing it Thanks a lot, hope to hear from you the soonest.

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