Best Advice To New Screenwriters by Gavin Michael Booth

Film Courage: In under 5 minutes can you give us the best screenwriting advice?

Gavin Michael Booth, Writer/Director/Cinematographer: Be different. Just because you read a book on screenwriting, don’t follow that exact format. 

Read every screenplay you can from amateur to professional. Movies you’ve watched, get those screenplays, especially from sites like (I don’t even know who still exists) but Drew’s Script-o-rama or anywhere that houses screenplays. But especially if you live in LA there’s stores that sell them. I try to get early drafts to scripts and understand the changes that they’ve made to production.

I think the more you see the evolution of how writing is changing over the years, how character development and dialogue and looking at all of the different…because there isn’t one set format for writing a screenplay. There used to be, but not so much anymore. 

I just feel like the more you read, you just filter through, this works for what I’m doing, this doesn’t work, when you just see the way that people use description, it’s just practice.

For indie filmmakers, don’t shoot your first draft. Your first draft is not perfect unless you are the next Robert Towne or just somebody who’s got this amazing ability to…Kevin Smith of CLERKS (but I bet that wasn’t even his first draft). Just because you finish it and doesn’t mean it’s perfect, so get feedback. Have table reads, listen to the advice people give you even if you don’t like it. You are always going to have to fight for some things and you don’t have to take everyone’s advice. You will never not learn something that you didn’t think of or didn’t see as being a problem in your script the more people you ask to give you feedback.

Of course you will want to do something weird and wild that people won’t understand and that’s okay you don’t have to change but you have to rewrite and rewrite and rewrite to get that feedback because it’s so important to shape…there is no way that any one writer can have all the answers and bang out a perfect screenplay without that guidance and help.

Film Courage: Did you ever think about what your life would be like if you hadn’t have gone to that Third Eye Blind concert?…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).

Last Call | Official Trailer from Gavin Michael Booth on Vimeo.

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