Steven Barnes' Free Writing Class!
"Introduction to Screenwriting"
Hi, there, and Welcome back!
MY GHOD! ITS THE LAST CLASS!!!
How quickly time flies, eh? Well, since all there really is
to do at this point is to evaluate your work, the question on
everyone's mind must be: what in the world does Steve have to
say to us now?
Well...let's just say that if you take very seriously what
I am about to lay out for you, it will be of greater value than
everything that has come before.
It works like this: All of the information about writing ,
all of the technique, ALL of that stuff won't do you a damned
bit of good unless you use it. All of these things are the "Principles"
of success in the limited field called writing.
But what makes the difference between people who get their
dreams and people who don't--in other words, between those of
you who will actually use the information which you paid for,
and those of you who will sit on your thumbs and whine, are
what I call the "metaprinciples"--in other words, the ideas,
actions, core beliefs, and so forth which underlie any successful
Every human being is going to have his own idea about what
it takes to succeed in life. You have yours. I have mine. I
may well be wrong in my choices and observations, but what I
CAN say is that all of the principles given below are tested,
that I have taught them to thousands of people, and to my knowledge,
everyone who has actually put them into play has gotten the
It ain't easy, but if it was easy, everybody would be happy,
healthy, and wise--and we know that isn't the case, don't we?
So don't worry about what's easy or what isn't. Instead, ask
yourself: "Am I willing and prepared to become stronger, more
centered, and more successful than I've ever been in my life?"
Until and unless the answer to that question is "Yes", chances
are very good that you have wasted your money in this class.
I absolutely, 100% believe that every human being has the ability
to bring his dreams into existence. If you have the ability
to consistently visualize or imagine success over the period
of time necessary to achieve the goal, you can do it. And that
ability to visualize or imagine is , in most successful people,
trained rather than innate.
So here are my last, and most important words to you. They
are the ten steps I would consider invaluable in actually reaching
- TAKE RESPONSIBILITY. You
must let your environment, heredity, parents, mate, or anything
else completely off the hook. YOU are responsible for your
success or failure. YOU are the cause of pleasure and pain
in your life. Had a bad childhood? Get over it. Black, Gay,
Female, Handicapped, too young or too old? Nobody cares. IF
YOU DON'T DO IT FOR YOURSELF, THE WORLD WILL BARELY NOTICE
YOUR HEARTBREAK. Ultimately, you must care for yourself, nurture
yourself, support yourself, discipline yourself, love yourself.
If you were a rabbit in the woods, you would be on the constant
search for food, and consistently watching out for predators.
You must have something of the same willingness to get what
you want out of life, and to watch out for, and protect yourself
from, those who would hurt you, discourage you, use you. It's
not up to life to be easy. It is your responsibility to be
- CREATE YOUR LIFE STORY.
You did this, in your first week. Go back over it. Make sure
that you have clear goals in ALL THREE major areas: career,
physical health, relationship. Know what you want, and don't
be afraid to go after it. WRITE YOUR GOALS DOWN!!!
- FIND A GOAL SETTING SYSTEM.
There are many out there, and their efficiency depends largely
on a match between your personality and the personality of
the author. However, I would personally recommend the "Time
Line" system taught by Tad James. Get a catalog from him at
Advanced Neuro Dynamics, 808-941-2021. They're the best I've
found. Order his "The Secret of Creating Your Future" tape
set, and USE IT.
- SENSORY ACUITY. You've
have to have feedback as to your progress or problems. Income
is a good way to keep track. Feedback from intelligent colleagues
or teachers helps. KEEP YOUR EYES AND EARS OPEN. Any feedback,
including rejection letters, is good feedback.
- RAISE YOUR ENERGY LEVEL.
Without sufficient energy, your dreams will turn to dust.
In fact, one of the most important steps in breaking any old
behavior pattern is to raise your energy. There are several
basic steps to this.Diet. Stay away from books on losing weight.
In my humble opinion, most of them are designed or doomed
to fail. ANY diet that you will eventually diverge from is,
in my opinion, designed to fail. Instead, look at diets designed
to enhance athletic performance, especially endurance. Robert
Haas' "Eat To Win" diet is excellent. There are others. Find
them. Don't be one of these morons who knows more about auto
maintenance or football statistics than he does about his
own health. They make me sick. Exercise. The two most
important types of exercise are: 1) flexibility and alignment,
and 2) cardiovascular.
Flexibility and Alignment. The first can be learned
in a yoga class, or a dance class--if the dance class is taught
by a teacher over 40 years old. What you are looking for here
is unlearning the bad habits of posture and tension which
a lifetime of imprecise motion locks into you.
Trust me: unless you are an intuitive genius at such things,
(and I've never met such a person), YOU NEED A TEACHER. At
least twice a month, work with a teacher, developing a 15-minute
daily stretching program. Minimum. Do it.
Cardiovascular. For energy, you need 3-4 40 minute
exercise sessions a week. Walking is great. So is swimming.
Be gentle with yourself if you haven't been exercising for
a while. The idea is work up a light sweat. Exercise more
intense than this is for athletes. Rest. Get enough sleep.
Take catnaps. This is vital for those of us living a creative
life. You need your dream time.
These are the most basic prerequisites to generating more
energy in your life. Ignore them at your peril.
- FIND ROLE MODELS. Study
the lives and actions of people who have already accomplished
your chosen goals. Then imitate their actions, beliefs, and
thought patterns. Even better is to find several different
people who have accomplished goals similar to the ones you
hold dear. Cross reference them, and find out what things
they ALL had in common. Do this "core" stuff religiously,
and you will save yourself years and decades of wasted effort.
- FLEXIBILITY. Keep trying
different things until you reach your goal. Keep your eyes
on the prize, and simply flow around any obstacles. Be like
snow melt winding its way to the sea. Eventually, it will
get there. It may take a life time--but do you have anything
better to do? Let's face it: ten years from now, you will
either be ten years older, or ten years older and wiser. The
choice is up to you.
- NEVER GIVE UP. Resolve
here and now that you will keep moving forward until you have
reached your goal.
- 1%. Divide the work necessary
to accomplish your goal into bite-sized chunks. Do about 1%
of it every week. No more. You can walk to Disneyland--but
you can't sprint there. Be very careful about trying to do
too much. It can be another way of setting yourself up for
- MASTERMIND GROUPS. One
of the most valuable things you can do in reaching any goal
is to find a group of like-minded people, and meet with them
once or twice a week (I suppose you could set this up over
the Internet). You share goals, dreams, and support. Every
week, every member is responsible for moving his goals forward,
for having taken another step. For a very full explanation
of how to do this, read "Think and Grow Rich", by Napoleon
Hill. This is probably the best book ever written on self
Well, that's it. Believe me, it's all you need, and more. The
sad thing is that I know most of you won't follow the advice you
paid for. This grieves me, because I genuinely want you to succeed.
The thing that makes me happy is the possibility that you--that's
right, YOU, are the one in a thousand who will actually follow
through, who will follow good advice, who will go after your
dreams and not let anything stand in your way. I hope it's you.
You seem like a nice person.
But, hey--I've been wrong before.