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04/29/2005 - One Way of Paying Your Dues?
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No, I'm not talking Writer's Guild dues. More like the dues you put into learning your craft. And there are ways to pay those dues beyond writing.

Here's the gist of my message: there are lots of opportunities out there to do things like work as a grip, production assistant or fill other production slots on the set of independent films and low-budget TV commercials. Why production?

You'll learn a lot by osmosis. The way actors take dialogue and make it their own. Might sharpen your own ear for dialogue. You may gain a better appreciation for what is and is not technically feasible when writing your low budget spec script for the indie market. You can watch how directors work with talent and set and light a scene.

Face it, we're not novelists. We're scriptwriters. If we're lucky (assuming you have a great script), we live for the day when our own "baby" is turned over to a director, cinematographer and cast of actors. Ultimately, the script becomes obsolete. The audience sits in the dark to enjoy a viewing experience.

The old saw: "if it ain't on the page, it ain't on the stage" works both ways. Writing for film and television requires more than a good story. It's got to be a good story that will excite producers, directors and actors because they can envision it as a sight and sound experience.

We pay our dues by the effort we put into becoming better writers. We learn from successes and failures. We can also learn from how scripts become realized "off the page".

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Get your script read and evaluated by the same folks who read for the agencies and studios. Discover what's right and wrong with your script and how to improve it.

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