Writing stories can be done just for passing time, practicing creativity or experiencing something new – we certainly know that. And general rules for storytelling also apply to a more niche-oriented screenplay format. What we’re getting at is that it’s perfectly fine to write a screenplay, and then forget about it, thus remaining the one and only person in the world who ever came in contact with it. But maybe, just maybe, it would be a step in the right direction to submit it to a film festival. Or more. See what they think about it. It can’t really hurt, can it?
You get feedback
Feedback is probably one of the most important forms of communication that we can benefit from as human beings. It tells us how what we do aligns with someone else’s thoughts and expectations. And getting opinions on a piece of writing is paramount to any writer. Just because you might think that nobody else will dig your short screenplay doesn’t make it true, you know. Give it a shot, you might be pleasantly surprised. Likewise, unanimous praise from your group of best friends doesn’t mean you’re already the next Tarantino – see how somebody else, who until seeing your name on the cover page had no idea about your existence, might like it. Impressing a person who reads screenplays on a daily basis counts a wee bit more than impressing your best friend.
You maybe get to travel
Let’s say that a festival liked your work so much, that they selected it among the nominees for the final event. Depending on the nature and size of the festival, you may get invited to attend the event in person. This is an exciting opportunity, because it most likely means stepping out of your routine for a bit, and travelling to a different city, where you can sight see, eat well and then attend an award ceremony. Unless the festival you were selected by is actually from your city. Even then, your achievement is no less noteworthy!
You get to network
Unless the festival that invited you is a very, very small one, and you accidentally made a clean sweep of all the categories, chances are that more peoples’ works were selected, and some of them are going to be there. This is a fantastic opportunity to get to know some of them, talk about ideas, experiences and potential future projects. In the best case scenario, this might land you a collaboration at some future point, or whomever you meet might put you in contact with some of his or her acquaintances that also work in the industry. Worst case, you just get to know filmmakers from all over the world. Not at all bad, we’d dare say.
You get motivated
When your work gets acknowledged, it’s a clear sign that you did something right. This means that you have potential, and it might be a good idea to keep going. Don’t quit your job and update your LinkedIn profession to ‘screenwriter’ just yet, but keep doing what you’re doing. Most importantly, however – don’t rest on your laurels. If you think of yourself as a maestro already, and you think you know everything there is to know – well, it’s probably not going to go well for you. Use this recognition as a chance to improve, perfect yourself, and go prepared for the next big thing.