SCREENWRITING IS UNUSUAL
Writing a screenplay is an unusual thing to do. Not “unusual” in the sense of chasing squirrels in the park to steal their nuts, but “unusual” in the sense of “not usual.” Most people don’t write screenplays.
The major screenplay contests often see around 30K+ submissions. Going with the assumption that X number of these scripts are submitted to multiple contests, and X number of scripts are rewrites of submissions from prior years, we can maybe say we’re looking at about 100K new screenplays written per year. This number is wildly inaccurate, and a total guess, but it gives us a number for the sake of conversation.
So far, we’re only talking about scripts written by people submitting to contests: newer writers looking for a win to hook them into a career. Let’s also factor in all of the many scripts written by established, working writers. Again, just to give us a number for conversational use, let’s say that’s around another 100K.
Between new writers and established writers, we’re kinda-sorta-guesstimating about 200,000 screenplays per year. Hoo boy, does that seem like a huge number. And it is, if we’re looking at competition for specific financing opportunities within the industry.
But let’s step back and look at a much broader canvas: the world as a whole. At the moment, we have kinda-sorta-guesstimating about eight billion people on the planet. Going by the very broad assumptions that each of our 200K yearly scripts are brand new, freshly summoned from the ether of the zeitgeist for the first time, this means that within the entirety of the human experience only .00025% of the population has written a screenplay this year.
Which means that if you are a screenwriter, you are automatically included in this tiny slice of our fellow humans. Simply by typing “THE END,” you become a member of a very specific group. Writing a screenplay means you are already a better screenwriter than 99.99975% of anyone who is living right now.
This isn’t meant to engender a sense of elitism, etc. Only to point out that screenwriting is a not-usual thing to do. Thereby, if you are a screenwriter who writes screenplays you are also, by definition, a person who does not-usual things. An unusual person.
Accomplishing unusual things requires an unusual person. You know what is even less-usual than writing a script? Making a movie, specifically getting a movie made based on a script that you have written. That is the epitome of not-usual. But that’s the ultimate goal, yes? To become even more unusual than you already are?
The overall point being: The moment you set upon this course, you are already marking yourself as someone who is willing to do something that is, statistically (and perhaps literally) speaking, strange. Weird. Daring. Odd. There is a sense of striking out across the open sea in search of adventure. There is something special and magical that’s inherent to daring to be unusual. Let’s carry that thought into the new year.