Mentor & Mentee

Most of us in our lives want to be flamboyant about our writing talents, especially screenwriting talents. This’s something I’ve seen through my life, as screenwriter, also as a social human being. We really want to think, (at least to please ourselves) we are creators and self-born writers. Sometimes I find a few of those who come to my Screenwriting Studio – ScreenWrite.In seem to carry a style of confidence in them as screenwriters (not that I hate them or am sarcastic about their demeanor). But within the inmost cubicles of our conscience, we know for sure, there’s some-one who helps us begin to write, or write better, gave us the impetus to take writing as a career, giving innumerable tips to get us to where we are now. I don’t want to discuss about the logic or justice as to why we forgot them or still respect them; but I want just to establish there are such generous minds who had supported us intellectually and professionally as guides to mark a vocation in screenwriting for us.

In every successful writer’s life there will be someone called ‘mentor’, whether you like to call him a mentor or not. In my life it was my own colleague, a child-hood friend; we were together right from primary school; without his encouragement and help I’d never have been a screenwriter. I still call him by name, not my mentor.

Lots of people will help you on your path to become a professional writer, whether it’s forwarding your resume on for a job or giving you notes on your script. But the thing is, not everyone wants to be a mentor. Some people really enjoy helping young writers develop their talent – and some don’t. You can’t force it to happen. Also, professional writers can be really busy. Please don’t take it as a presumed negligence if someone isn’t able to help you.

Mentors are someone you find almost similar in gurukula system of teaching; the mentor takes you through a journey of life, where you start experiencing your career. S/He’s your friend, supporter, and leader who shares mostly his own experiences and finds a unique placement for your talents.

In my experience, a mentor/mentee relationship is most likely develop if :

  • The person really does want to be a mentor,

  • S/He thinks you are a talented writer with a lot of potential,

  • You both share the same taste, and

  • You’ve bonded on a personal level. You might meet the friendliest writer in the world, but if he writes romantic comedies, she’s probably not the right person to guide you through four drafts of a horror movie.

I’m not sure it’s really possible to actively seek out a mentor – and I think it would be awkward to ask a writer to be one. You just have to keep meeting people and see if anything clicks (in my case, it happened organically).

May be, to put it jocularly, you better start looking for a mentor for screenwriting if you had done the following:

  1. Duplicate the accomplished. Take Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘Godfather’. Change the names to Vikas and Swaroop and Madhuri. Change the city to Mumbai, India. There you are!

  2. Include notes in the margin space: “Dear Reader, please pay attention to the plot point in this scene!”

  3. Create a Protagonist who is not proactive, with no desire and motive (think structuring is foolish.)

  4. Write detailed cinematographic and directorial instruction like “WIDE-ANGLE SHOT, the actors should imagine they method act,” etcetera.

  5. Write a “feature-length” screenplay that is 300 pages long.

  6. Make sure nothing happens in the screenplay within the first 10 pages.

  7. Paste photos and pictures generously to illustrate your scenes.

  8. Use character names that all start with the same letter and are very similar to one another like Vaani, Varadhan, Vally, Vasu, Vasundhara.

  9. Write a “feature-length” screenplay that is 30 pages long.

  10. Use a crazy font on the cover as big as a newspaper heading and also inside the script to capture the attention of the Reader (never use Courier).

  11. Make all text RIGHT adjusted.

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