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By Michael Schilf · May 24, 2010
Whenever I hear this question, I remember a few years back when I screened A History of Violence for my scene writing workshop. Josh Olson, the writer of the film, came in for a Q&A, and one particularly eager student presented this: “So I’m done with my screenplay. What do I do now? How do I sell it?”
Olson paused, picking his words carefully. “Your first script?” he asked. The student nodded. And Olson smiled, offering this advice: “Take your script, drive down to Santa Monica, and throw it in the Pacific.”
The student was shocked – we all were – but Olson clarified, and thankfully the student had a good sense of humor. No harm done. But the point couldn’t have been clearer. Olson was simply saying that all writing is rewriting, and if you want to sell your screenplay, you better make it amazing – ten or twenty drafts, whatever it takes. Then write a new script, and another one. And after a lot of hard work, when you have two or three great spec-scripts, only then can you embark on the arduous task of getting an agent, and just maybe… make some money.