Movies can also educate. There are books written by psychologists prescribing certain movies for your woes and worries. My dad insists I went to school in Chicago because of John Hughes.
So many movies can do so much for us. Whenever I think I might be slacking, I read and/or watch “The Speech” from Glengarry Glen Ross. If you haven’t seen it, you’re missing a master class in both screenwriting and screenplay adaptations. But if you are not familiar with David Mamet (and I dearly hope you are), understand he speaks the language of the common man. He’s elevated foul language to an art form. When we had an exercise in one of my college play writing classes to identify playwrights in the shortest manner possible, I merely yelled out two words: the F bomb followed by You. Four people immediately groaned, “Mamet”, as if I’d just shot fish in a barrel.
So as we are an educational institution, I’m not going to directly link to this epic speech. But should you google the movie title + speech, Alec Baldwin’s mug’ll show up on a YouTube link. And to read the screenplay, just insert screenplay into your search instead of speech. It starts atop page 10 and is full steam ahead ratcheting the film from drama to thriller in seven minutes/five pages.
If you’re not woken up and energized by the brute force of that speech, you might need to seek a less challenging pursuit than entertainment. Cutthroat doesn’t begin to describe the competitive nature of the industry. So as a writer, you have to be your best salesperson. If you can’t sell you, nobody else will.
The speech is rife with so many great lines. But the best (and closest to G rated) quote is absolutely universal:
“A-B-C. A-Always, B-Be, C-Closing. Always be closing. ALWAYS BE CLOSING. A-I-D-A. Attention, Interest, Decision, Action. Attention”
I call these acronyms my Alphabet Opera. ABC AIDA. And they are so true.
First with Always Be Closing as this is your motivation. Your life, not just work life but your LIFE, starting out in the industry is about breaking in and working the system to your favor. If there isn’t a career-forwarding motivation in any way to relationships built starting out, you’re going to get passed by. Networking seems so slimy but it doesn’t have to be. It’s just about befriending those of similar interests in the field that you are making your life.
And Attention Interest Decision Action? That’s a sales mantra. You want your script produced? First you have to get their Attention. Then evoke their Interest. Make sure they are making the best Decision for all parties. And take Action to seal the deal.