What is a Fresh Voice & Why It Matters To Your Screenwriting Career Part I

photodune-7762280-you-have-a-voice-mPart I) What is the Screenwriter’s Voice?

I am often asked, what do you look for in a winning script? Can a character-driven script that isn’t very commercial still win? Can an awesome concept beat out great execution?

The answer goes well beyond what we look for in the competition. The answer is the key that sustains a long and successful career as a screenwriter.

Fresh Voices was founded on the belief that the single biggest factor in building a successful screenwriting career is the writer’s “Voice”. We’ve heard this term used in all artistic endeavors, but what does it mean for a screenwriter to have a fresh voice?

In a series of articles, we’ll try to better understand what the screenwriter’s “Voice” is? What makes a voice “Fresh”? Why is a Fresh Voice so important to your career? And how do you find your Voice and Keep it Fresh?

A “Fresh Voice” is a writer’s branding. It is their personality. It is what distinguishes them from other writers. It is their own unique style, perspective, or “take” that they bring to an otherwise familiar story. It is what makes their writing memorable, it is what producers look for when hiring a writer and it is ultimately what resonates with an audience.

As a writer, your voice is formed by the thousands of decisions you make in creating your world, from your choice of words and sentence structure to the underlying themes you are exploring in the story, from how the characters look and what they say, to the motivations, personality flaws you imbue them with. How each scene begins, how it ends and the conflict you inject therein.  Each and every decision you make as you write informs your style, and ultimately your voice.

Beyond the decisions you make as you physically write, however, there are less tangible influences such as your life experiences, your view of the world, your upbringing and socio-economic background. In addition, your ability to identify with and your sensitivity toward the human condition will further define your voice. 

Lastly, the research you do on the subject you’re writing about and no doubt your knowledge of and appreciation for cinema history will further inspire your voice.

Your voice comes from having something to say as a writer about the world around you. For if nothing is being said, there is no voice. Your ability to bring these elements together and take them from your life to the page in a way that can be translated to the screen and resonate with an audience is not only the screenwriter’s duty, it is ultimately their voice.

As we will see over the following weeks, your voice is integral to your work, your success and your longevity as a screenwriter. In reading this series of articles, we hope you will find some great tips from our 2015 Headline Judge, some of our readers, past winners, as well as myself, on not only how to win this year's competition but how to build a successful and sustainable screenwriting career. Good Luck and Let Your Voice Be Heard! 

Read Part 2) What Makes Your Voice Fresh?

Read Part 3) Why a Fresh Voice is Your Key To A Successful Career?

Read Part 4) How To Hone Your Voice & Keep It Fresh