So many things can go wrong as a self-taught screenwriter, and it’s important to understand how to deal with any and all of them, rather than to try to fix them. So how do you start filmmaking? The best course of action is to start by taking some lessons from someone who you trust with your career. For writers, this should be a writer who has a successful background in film, or a veteran feature film writer. A writer who has a background in television and/or a script doctor is good for starting off because we have been on the same wavelength since we first went into this business. But if you can’t convince someone of that, at least start working with someone you trust in Hollywood. You’ll be surprised at what you learn when you work with someone who you have similar experience.
The biggest secret to getting started is to know yourself. Don’t be afraid to start small, and don’t be afraid to quit, but know what you want. How you want to make your movie, and how you want to make it better than any other movie made before. And if you can’t convince someone of that, at least try and find an experienced Hollywood writer who can. Then start working with someone in the business to get a better feel of what your movie is all about. That could be someone in the post-production department, a production designer, production illustrator, or somebody who was in the middle of your production with you for a week or more. Then you can start working out that film with your collaborators. And if you are feeling like you are being kept in the dark or your ideas are not getting through, just be open to hearing your ideas and giving them a try and see if they work. The best thing you can do right now is just get out there and start showing your movie, so even if it doesn’t work out, you’re still having fun.
The best advice I can give for self-taught writers is to not be afraid to write. Just write. Writing anything other than prose is a waste of time because no matter how good you are, no matter how much fun it is you’ll never be a writer, and nobody wants an artist who’s only good at writing. But don’t be afraid to write prose, because it’s one of the best ways to learn about a new writing medium, or just how to think about your characters. You shouldn’t need to “learn the rules” or the alphabet to write, and you should