Besides articles and texts written for my job, I also write different kind of content: short stories and health related articles on this website which, by the way, is updated only 1-2 times a week, but my biggest dream is to become a screenwriter.
I didn’t have time to pursue this dream, to read books, to go to workshops or screenwriting courses and, to be honest with you; I never truly understood the importance of a mentor, of a script teacher/advisor.
I just want to mention here I write this article because a while ago I published an article in Romanian about the same topic and many of my friends asked me details about how working with a script advisor is and how my script advisor, in particular, works with me during our writing sessions.
It all started one year ago
One year ago a friend sent me “Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need” by Blake Snyder.
If you are into screenwriting I recommend you this book, it’s awesome. It taught me a lot and it brought me a step closer to understanding better “how to write a script”.
Yet, the screenwriting book was not enough
I have joined several screenwriting Facebook groups and I started to read more topics, even to be more active there.
This is how I met Ferdinand W Gernandt, an “award-winning and produced screenwriter, but also a director and producer who helps filmmakers create high-quality scripts”. I quote from his website.
First, he asked me some questions, we scheduled a Zoom meeting for him to see how engaged I was in this path and desire of writing.
That discussion was decisive for me because only when I talked to him “live”, when I heard his explanation regarding screenwriting, scripts, the necessity of a script advisor – only then I started realizing this was the missing piece of my puzzle.
Because many of you asked me “how it was to work with a script advisor” I will try to draw below some of the steps we followed just for you to figure it out if you would like to try this variant or not.
I also mention many of my friends and acquaintances were delighted by this idea, of writing a script, and many confessed they too have a lot of script ideas and would want them written down.
Well, screenwriting is not as easy as many (I included) think, but as long as you have talent, you organize yourself and you work with someone in the business, I think it is achievable.
Several steps before actually writing the script
Before actually writing the script there are 5 or 6 steps I followed with Ferdinand. This was my main mistake before: I sat down and wrote whatever crossed into my mind and saw where it went. Actually, at some point I got stucked and gave up.
No, screenwriting is not like that, no matter how gifted you are.
During our writing sessions, we started with the logline, theme, structure, characters interview etc. and it followed a lot of other steps that elevated my story before reaching to writing the description of the scenes.
Yes, you read it well: first I only wrote the description of the scenes.
We went forward with some other steps and then we reached the actual writing of the scenes.
Now, we are almost done with that part, but afterwards there are some other stages I have to check before saying “Hey, people, I wrote my first script” – and of course, trying to sell it.
I mention we work 1 - 1.5 hours a week and we started in November.
Why I like so much to work with Ferdinand
You may think this is a kind of “ad article” for Ferdinand, but it is not so. I would never work with anyone if I didn’t feel it really helps me. Besides… what I had last year? Nothing. What I have now? Almost a written script.
In terms of personality and professional assets, Ferdinand is very flexible, focused, prepared with all kind of materials and when we work on text I can really see he knows what he is doing.
Of course, before starting working with him I checked his website, his Facebook page/personal account, but the “true test” for me it was the actual Zoom meetings.
During those meetings I understood that man really knows what he is doing and I wouldn’t have been able to handle all by myself no matter the read books or checked courses.
Of course, it matters so much that Ferdinand is also a producer and a director, he lived and worked in New York and had contact with other producers, knows at what they are looking on a script.
How much of my work is Ferdinand contribution?
Many ask me this. He doesn’t write for me anything, he just edits what I write in the first place – edits in terms of structure of the phrase, tenses used in screenwriting and in terms of words or expressions I don’t know.
His contribution is more in terms of those lines between the dialogues, the rest, the dialogue, is 80-90% my writing. We will have some other 1-2 stages in terms of dialogue, "how to express better something", "how to better say something etc", but we haven't reached that final stage yet.
Should an aspiring screenwriting work with a script advisor? Absolutely yes!
Now, I find this is the most important thing especially for someone like me who has a full time job, limited resources, not so many books written, 0 courses etc. It’s essential.
I truly believe someone from a foreign country cannot write a very good script by himself because there is this language barrier.
If you are in the writing industry, or you just have, like me, this dream of becoming a screenwriter, try a script advisor. Talk to Ferdinand or some other script advisor - as you wish - but start from here and you will see how things will change.
If you want to contact Ferdinand Gernandt here is his website, and here is his Facebook page and personal account.