You know the phrase: Hindsight is 20-20. We all make mistakes that we wouldn’t have had we known better, but we can all make fewer of them by learning from those who’ve trodded paths before us in this information-sharing era. Lucky for you, we found some generous creatives who were willing to share some of the biggest mistakes they’ve either made or see made in the entertainment industry. These are career-killers, not just “oops” types of errors. With that said, readers take heed!
Ahead, you’ll hear the top six mistakes writers make from Monica Piper (producer, writer, and comedian, with credits on “Rugrats,” “Roseanne” and more), Danny Manus (who actually gets paid to stop you from making mistakes through No BullScript consulting), and Ricky Roxburgh (a writer who specializes in animation, with Disney and Dreamworks credits).
Mistakes Writers Make
1. Not Setting Deadlines
Need help creating a writing schedule and deadlines? We’ve got you.
2. Not Having a Process
Do you have a creative process to take your idea to completion? If not, don’t worry. It comes with time and practice, but the only way to find what works is to put in the work. Looking to try a new process on for size? Check out how these writers approach their craft.
3. Not Writing Enough
No writer’s work is ever complete. You have to keep learning, evolving, and getting better. It’s part of the beauty of writing! We’re continuously improving. Need help sharping your skills? Look no further.
4. Not Being Happy For Others’ Success
It can be so painful to watch someone else succeed at something you want nothing more than to succeed at yourself. It stings even more when you know you’re working harder for it. Luck, time and place, and all sorts of other factors play into someone’s success, but you need to cheer on the people who are crushing it. Being outwardly jealous or arrogant will get you absolutely nowhere in the entertainment industry. So, how do you get over those bad vibes you may be putting out? Take note:
5. Not Being Likeable
As I’m sure you’ve heard a million times, entertainment is a relationship business, and word travels FAST. Be someone who other people want to work with because of your fantastic attitude, incredible skillset, and unbelievable work ethic. Be authentic (cringe word, I know, but it’s true). It will take you far.
6. Not Doing Your Homework
It is a VERY rare occurrence these days that you can’t find information about someone online. Whether that’s their work history, current projects, or even where they live (yikes), there’s no excuse for showing up to a meeting or reaching out to someone without learning anything about them ahead of time. Save the surprises for in-person networking, where no one expected you to Instagram-stalk the entire room before arriving. If you are lucky enough to land a meeting or pitch a producer or executive, be ready. LinkedIn, IMDb Pro, and even Twitter are all places to quickly find background information to show someone you did your homework.
In conclusion, making these mistakes now that you know them ahead of time would be another big mistake. Save yourself the drama and keep it for the page! Pursuing your creative passions is already hard enough. I hope these lessons from the pros will save you a world of hurt in your creative endeavors and help you reach the upper echelon that much faster!