One Script


At the AEB one year anniversary bash I was a guest speaker (thank you for inviting me AEB I had a great time) and there was a question and answer session after the talk and one question stands out to me.

A woman said she got advice to write a lot of scripts. To have a trunk of scripts. Like, three romantic comedies if she was interested in writing romantic comedies and three scripts for drama if she was interested in writing drama and three —

I’m pretty sure that was headed for three scripts in any genre she ever had an interest in writing at all and I stopped her and said —


You need ONE script.

ONE SCRIPT is your break in script, your calling card script, your sample script, possibly your get signed and get sold and get produced and get a screen credit script.

The caveat is —

One GREAT script.

Every writer who ever broke into Hollywood knows and can name the script — that one script that broke them in. I know the script that broke me in. My writer friends know the scripts that broke them in. I know the scripts that broke writers I don’t even know in. That’s how hot “one script” can be in Hollywood. The “break in” script that launches a career is known.

I can drop some names here. Billy Bob Thornton. Quentin Tarantino. Diablo Cody. Know their break in scripts?

[If you don’t, you are a shame to your film heritage hit Google right now and pretend you did not have to do that jeez!]

That doesn’t mean you only have to write one script. All of us wrote more than one script before that ONE break in script. Sometimes it takes writing a lot of scripts to write that ONE great script.

But, it is the ONE script that breaks you in.

Not the trunk of scripts.

The one script.

Don’t spread your attention across trunks full of paper. Focus on one script. Make it count.

Screenwriter and author Max Adams

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Max Adams is an author and award winning screenwriter. She has written for Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures, Tri-Star Pictures, Hollywood Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Walt Disney Studios, Universal Pictures – and a couple others to remain unnamed because no one around here wants to get black listed. Max is a former volunteer AFI Alumni reader and WGAw online mentor, has appeared as a speaker at AMPAS, USC, and Film Arts Foundation, is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at University of Utah, is the author of The Screenwriter’s Survival Guide AND The New Screenwriter’s Survival Guide, is the founder of two international online screenwriting workshops, and has the dubious distinction of having been dubbed “Red Hot Adams” by Daily Variety for selling three pitches over a holiday weekend – which made her agents cry. [In a good way.] She answers now to both “Max” and “Red Hot” in crowds and dog parks.

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