Screenwriting Blog
Posted on by Tyler M. Reid

Establishing Trust and Credibility as a Screenwriter

In your career as a screenwriter you may think that just being a good to really great writer is all that you need. Of course you know you need to make connections or find an agent or maybe even a producer. Something that is often overlooked is how you are perceived by other people. Usually that comes from two questions: “Do I trust this person?” and “Is this person credible?”

The question you may ask yourself, especially as a new writer is, “How can I prove trust and credibility if I am just starting out?"

Establishing Trust and Credibility as a Screenwriter

There are two main ways to establish trust and credibility and I will break them down into categories called Active and Passive.

Actively Establish Trust and Credibility as a Screenwriter

By actively establishing trust and credibility you are taking specific routes. One of the easiest ways to do this, that people often overlook, is how we present ourselves online. Yes, I am talking about social media here. Look how many people have lost their jobs, even in the entertainment industry, because of how they were perceived online. You may think of course you won't say anything outrageous that would cause a huge stir, but it's not just the big, it's also the micro interactions online. Commenting or responding on posts with positivity and politeness will go a long way in proving you are someone that can be trusted. Getting into arguments or being rude online may cause doubt, but also it may seem unprofessional which can start questioning your credibility.

With that, by talking about and sharing your experience in knowledge in screenwriting on your social media will show that you are someone to trust and are credible, because you are passionate about your craft. You can still do this even if you are writing your first ever screenplay. Talking about new tools or ways of writing is great content for social media. Also, using a social network like LinkedIn and engaging with professionals and asking questions bolsters trust and credibility. The way you present yourself online is usually indicative of the way you present yourself in person as well as how you interact with other people.

Passively Establish Trust and Credibility as a Screenwriter

You establish trust and credibility passively with the ways in which you deal with difficult situations, more specifically conversations. The reason this is passive is because you are not planning out a route to take that you can enact to prove trust and credibility, because of that, passive is more difficult but also more powerful. The best example of this is how you deal with rejection, but especially rejection with notes.

Being rejected is hard and it can be heartbreaking. We usually have two feelings simultaneously in this situation - what is wrong with me and what is wrong with you. You are wondering why you were rejected but you are also thinking the person that rejected you was wrong. How you respond to the person that rejected you is the passive route to trust and credibility. If you get upset, you lash out, you insult, all of those will break trust and credibility. It’s important, as big as the film industry seems, it's also very small and everyone knows someone. You never know how far it will travel if you are read to someone who rejected you.

The same goes for getting notes on your script. If you think the notes are bad and you don’t agree with them, just thank the person and tell them you will take the notes into consideration. Again, getting upset because you don’t agree with the notes will only hurt your future possibilities.

It is easy to establish trust and credibility, but it is usually easy to destroy it. Focus on how you can actively build it, and keep in mind how you can passively build it. You never know, the person that rejected you may come back a few months later and ask if you have another script or even ask you to write one for them, because they liked you as a person - they felt they could trust you and that you are credible.

Tyler is seasoned film and media professional with over 20 years of diverse experience, specializing in production management and creative direction, with a rich portfolio spanning music videos, films, and documentaries, and a global network from the US to Sweden. Reach him on his website, LinkedIn, and X, and gain access to his free filmmaking templates when you sign up for his newsletter here.

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