A fun list from Diablo Cody, if you’re ever in the enviable position of needing this advice.
This one is my favorite:
6. Everyone you know will suddenly aspire to be a screenwriter.I’ve never heard of a dozen people applying to dental school because their friend or family member became an orthodontist. But if you become a screenwriter and have success at it, at least five of your non-writing acquaintances will spontaneously decide to try writing a screenplay. And you know what? I don’t blame them. I genuinely believe I have the best job in the world, other than Katy Perry. Besides, it’s not like I know what the fuck I’m doing. Go ahead, guys! Take a crack at it!
On the other hand, here’s a mostly (IMHO) terrible list from Joe Eszterhas: Joe Eszterhas’ 10 Golden Rules of Screenwriting. I don’t know whether this explains why he was one of the top screenwriters in Hollywood for many years, or if it explains why he hasn’t had a movie made in the States since 1997. This is the only point I agree with:
10. Don’t let the bastards get you down. If you can’t sell your script, or if you sell the script and they bring in another writer to butcher it, or if the director claims in interviews that he really wrote your script, or if the actors claim that they improvised all of your best lines, or if you’re left out of the press junket, simply sit down and write another script. And if the same thing happens to you on that one, write another and another and another and another, until you get one up there that’s your vision translated by the director to the big screen.