So, as you all might have noticed, I’ve made a bunch of little changes to the blog! For one, since I’m expanding my own goals as a writer, I also have decided to expand the scope of this site so that I can share my failures, successes, and lessons with you!
One of the major questions people are asking me nowadays is: why be a writer-producer? 😉 More pressing, what IS a writer-producer? Well, I’ll tackle that one folks, but since both are huge questions, I’m going to take one side of the hyphen at a time!
So let’s start with the Writer. I think we all know what a writer is, so I won’t go into that. But a writer is only the sum of his works (because hey, writers write… right?). So I’d say that the measure of a writer lies in…
The Big Bad Ass Writing Portfolio
So let’s talk about it. You need to have some sort of creative plan for your writing career, i.e. how many works will you write and finish? What kinds of works? In what genres and in what voice? Are you going to be *just* a novelist? Or will you write across different media such as comics, screenplays, graphic novels, or television? These are all important questions to ask yourself as you build up your career. For me, choosing which media I want to write in came down to two things:
WHAT I LOVE TO WRITE and MARKETING
What I love to write: For me personally, prose and novels are my first love. Then, about a year ago, scriptwriting (and blogging, too!) nestled up next to my heart and made itself at home. Permanently. I tried playwriting and comic writing, and it was interesting, but it didn’t capture my heart as much as the other three. So I decided to focus on what I love and hone my craft in those areas. For you, your tastes may be different! A colleague of mine will dabble in different media, but she primarily loves to write comics. Yet another colleague of mine feels drawn to short story format. So you need to do some digging to find what it is you want in your writing portfolio.
Marketing: “Marketing?!” You say. “What in blazes does this have to do with anything?!” Well, writing can be consumed in many ways. People can read it, listen to it, absorb it in a tactile fashion, “play it” (via video games and RPGs) and of course, people can also watch your writing through theatre, feature films, and television. But I want my writing to be consumed primarily through prose, tv, or feature film (web series count too!), so my writing portfolio is going to reflect primarily those media. You may want to write on NCIS, but if you only have short stories to show a tv / film lit agent, you’re going to be ass out. “Bring me a screenplay,” he’ll tell you. “And don’t come back unless it’s good!” And SLAM! goes the door in your face. So you need to diversify your writing portfolio in a way that best markets yourself as a writer of different, er, markets.
Cranking out that Big Bad Portfolio: My advice? Treat your writing portfolio like a stock portfolio! It’s good to have different kinds of “options” or “properties” (intellectual properties, that is) available for readers and agents, depending on what your goals are. If you want a book agent, dust off those manuscripts! You want a feature film and tv literary agent? Get those screenplays off the press. It’s all up to you. Just make sure you write your butt off, FINISH your work, have A LOT of material to show, and edit edit edit until your work GLOWS.
From personal experience, it’s really heartbreaking to talk to someone about my work, and then have them ask, “Can I see a sample?”, only for my response to be “Uhhhh….”. Either I haven’t finished it, or I think it’s not ready to be shown! LOL. Even worse is to have a kick ass script or book, have an agent like it, and then when they ask to see more, you say “Huh? But I don’t have more!” D’oh!! You don’t want that to happen! So sit on down, get out your pen, and do four things:
1. Plan your writing career and what media you want to focus on
2. Decide what pieces you want in your big bad ass writing portfolio
3. Sit your butt in a chair and WRITE until you finish each piece (a writing schedule helps with this too!)
4. EDIT EDIT EDIT your work! Send it to other readers, have them tear it apart, and then EDIT EDIT EDIT again until your work shines.
That’s all there is to it, folks. Writers write. Point blank period. But if you’re looking to be a writer-something else, stay tuned! Writing is not the only way to participate in the entertainment industry. There are so many other roles to take on, learn about, and master. For me, it’s being a Producer, but we’ll talk about that next time in Part II of “Being an Aspiring Writer-Producer”!
Until then, keep it indie,