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  • Writer's pictureDavid Hal Chester


(Photo by Zbynek Polak)

You want to be a screenwriter. A director. A producer. You want to do it all. You don't have any money, you don't have a manager. No one cares about you or believes in you. It all seems so pointless.

And yet... you've got you, right? You have your best resource: you. You are the fount of ideas. You are the person who could make a difference. Why do you need hundreds of people to help you? I mean, perhaps one day you will, but if you don't have a phalanx of assistants or fans or even friends or family, who else is left? YOU.

My first feature screenplay was called "DO IT YOURSELF." It was about a woman with low self-esteem who gets dumped by her hotshot fiancé. Long story short: She decides to "marry herself," and the whole concept explodes into a huge ad campaign for a struggling do-it-yourself store. The screenplay has not been produced, nor am I sure it ever will be. But it did help to put me on the map and it did give me the strength to believe, "Maybe I can do this kind of work for a living." I was prompted to write this entry when I took part in a webinar about screenwriting and one young man lamented that he hadn't got an agent yet. It seemed to be a stumbling block for him in that he couldn't see how he could get ahead.

Well, I have never had an agent or a manager. I have written 8 produced feature films, financed 90% of all my short films by myself, directed several of them, scored them, did everything, in fact, if required, including tracking down the right kind of coffee pot for a restaurant scene about 10 minutes before we shot the scene.

All of it has been a big lesson in believing enough in yourself to "do it yourself." You've certainly heard this kind of advice before, and from some much more powerful and influential creatives than me. But I'm here to reiterate it: do it yourself. Do not wait for others to offer opportunities. Go out and get them. Do you have the right stuff to get the gigs? If you do, you will get them. You cannot slack off, you cannot feel sorry for yourself, you cannot wish and hope and dream. I mean, you can, but you have to take action. All of this takes LOTS of time. And I understand: some of you have families, pets, people you have to take care of, jobs that need to be done to put food on the table.

Yes, I hear you. But can you carve out an hour in the day to write? To network? To connect the dots? Start with that. Keep at it. Do NOT give up. I know, easier said than done. I'm someone who wants to throw in the towel every fifteen minutes. But then I get a second wind. And here I am, still getting opportunities to write, because I laid the groundwork and pursued it. Did I have a lucky break? Yes. ONE. ONE is all it takes for doors to open. Just remember that. In the meantime... BE PREPARED. That will be the topic of my next blog. For right now: You have the gifts, the powers, the brains to create SOMETHING that will resonate with SOMEONE. And none of it will happen unless you trust yourself enough to say, "I can do this." So, there ya go. My two cents for the day. Goals can be reached and dreams achieved. GO FOR IT.

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