This Mistake Costs Talented Writers Their Careers

Over the past year, I’ve posted a new video clip for free on social media every single day.

I’ve also fielded thousands of questions from young writers, older writers taking another stab at their dream, and everyone in between.

And I’ve noticed a critical mistake that most of you are making.

Making things worse, it plagues almost all writers regardless of their socio-economic background:

You obsess over selling your script — when you should be obsessing over writing a great script.

I get it.

In my 27-year career in Hollywood, I’ve sold dozens of projects to major studios.

Selling your work is exciting.

You get validation plus a big bag of money.

It proves to you and everyone else that you got what it takes.

Most of you have been told that making it in Hollywood is all about who you know. But it’s not that simple.

You could be the most connected person in the world, but if your script isn’t great, no one is going to take a chance on you. Why? Because they’d be a fool to jeopardize their own job by hiring someone who can’t do the task.

Here’s the problem:

You only get one chance to make a great first impression. If you take your script out too soon, you’ll burn a bridge.

It’s hard enough to get someone to read your script once. You think they’re going to give you a second shot at it?

This is why I see most writers fail.

Don’t be in such a hurry to prove to the world that you’re not ready!

Even if your idea is amazing, if it’s poorly executed, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.

Here’s the good news:

You can learn how to write the best version of your idea.

That isn’t going to happen overnight.

It will require work on your end.

But you can develop and hone your craft to the point that you have a body of writing samples that proves you understand how to craft a story.

And when you do, you won’t have to beg to be hired.

People will beg to hire you.

Why is that? Because they want to exploit your talent. I know “exploit” sounds like a bad word, but you want to be exploited. That’s how you make money!

I can’t promise you’re going to be the next Tarantino.

I can’t promise you you’ll ever sell anything.

But what I can promise you is that by learning story structure and honing your craft, you will have a greater shot at breaking into the business than you do right now.

Because there is no demand for mediocrity.

In Hollywood, there is only one currency: Story.

Story is different from Plot. Most writers don’t know that difference.

If you can learn the difference between the two, you can start to identify the necessary structure every good story has.

That skill set will help ensure that everything you write resonates with your reader.

That is your job as a writer.

Over the next few days, I’m going to share other mistakes writers are making and how to prevent them so make sure you look out for those emails.

-Michael Jamin

P.S. For those of you who haven’t signed up yet, I offer a free screenwriting lesson that covers the fundamentals of Storytelling. It’s 100% free. You can get it here:

Michael Jamin, Showrunner, TV Writer, Author

Michael Jamin

For the past 26 years, Michael Jamin has been a professional television writer/showrunner. His credits include King of the Hill, Beavis & Butthead, Wilfred, Maron, Just Shoot Me, Rules of Engagement, Brickleberry, Tacoma FD and many more.

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