Top 5 Inspiring Stories of Successful Screenwriters

Remember that TV show you love to curl up on the sofa to watch with the witty sarcastic actress or actor that you just love?

Well, most of what you saw and loved was written by some screenwriter somewhere in the world. Many times, people know the names of all the actors and actresses of movies or TV shows they loved, but very few people bother to learn about the brilliant individual who actually wrote the script of the movie.

Despite the fact that screenwriters are not household names like Actors, they still play a significant role in numerous award-winning movies and TV shows and get paid well for their hard work.

Many people in the world fancy becoming the screenwriters of hit TV shows but very few of them ever actually successfully write the script for a movie.

In fact, many of the students who rush off to LA with the dream of being screenwriters usually end up maintaining underpaid jobs as production assistants, personal assistants to stars, secretaries and office temps.

They do all these, while hoping that their script would catch the attention of someone important in the Hollywood industry.

Many times, screenwriters don’t need to have a degree in screenwriting but they have to possess the creativity, patience, self-motivation, resilience and the fundamental understanding of the film-making process which a screenwriter must have.

As a result, screenwriters have risen from different backgrounds with inspiring stories of their life before and after they caught their first big break. In honor of these screenwriters, here are five inspiring stories of successful screenwriters.


1. Diablo Cody

Diablo Cody is a pen name for Brooke Busey-Maurio who was born on June 14, 1978. Diablo first worked as a clerk at a Chicago bankruptcy firm.

Later she moved on to work at an ad agency, a job she eventually quit to take on life as a full-time stripper which she blogged about under the internet pseudonym Diablo Cody to maintain her anonymity and keep her parents from discovering her lifestyle.

The blog was so successful that soon Diablo received requests from Hollywood to write a script. This was a request and opportunity which she had never thought of, but which decided to take hold of. Her first script was Juno which earned her an Academy Award.

Diablo is one of those individuals who refused to settle for less in her life and decided to pursue her dreams and interests. Although she didn’t originally plan to become a screenwriter, Diablo quit her job at an ad agency even after she got a promotion because it was something she did not particularly care for. And she went to do something she cared about.

Her passionate and engaging writing, which every writer engaged in essay writing usually has, attracted Hollywood to her and she eventually wrote the screenplay for Juno, a coming of age teen comedy movie. If she had continued her job at the ad agency, nobody would have ever heard of her.

Success Tip 1: Don’t settle for less, pursue what you’re passionate about.


2. Quentin Tarantino

Quentin Tarantino dropped out of high school when he was just fifteen, to pursue his love for cinema and he spent his time taking classes during the daytime and watching movies at night before he scored his first real job as an employee of a video rental store.

While working at the video rental store, Tarantino watched thousands of films with which he built his knowledge of film-making and cinema.

Although many people call Quentin an overnight success because of the success of Reservoir Dogs, his directorial debut, Quentin actually struggled for almost ten years before he finally became successful. He eventually sold the scripts for ‘True Romance’ and ‘Natural Born Killers’, two scripts he’d written while working at the Video rental store.

He is also the screenwriter for Pulp Fiction, From Dusk till Dawn, Jackie Brown, Kill Bill Volume 1 and 2, Grindhouse, Inglourious Basterds, Django Unchained, The hateful Eight and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Success Tip 2: Dropping out is not the end of the world, you can still make something of yourself.


3. Karen McCullah Lutz

Karen McCullah Lutz is a screenwriter who pursued quite a number of diverse careers outside the entertainment industry, just like some screenwriters who also write for such writing services as edu birdie.

She worked in public relations for an environmental nonprofit company, as a marketer for an investment firm and as a furniture painter.

Regardless of this, Karen was looking for a way into the film industry and she started sending query letters to production companies in Los Angeles.

After numerous rejections, McCullah Lutz eventually received a response from Kirsten Smith who loved her writing and eventually became her writing partner for both ‘10 Things I Hate About You’ and ‘Legally Blonde’.

McCullah Lutz refused to give up despite the many query letters that she wrote that were all rejected until she struck gold with Kirsten Smith with whom she wrote two award-winning movies.

Success Tip 3: Never give up!


4. Aaron Sorkin

Aaron Sorkin started his career in the American movie industry, living the atypical life of struggling actors. He ran errands and worked numerous jobs like limo driving, bartending, delivering singing telegrams and even house sitting.

It was while he was house sitting that he started scriptwriting using an IBM typewriter he found at an apartment he took care off.

Sorkin first wrote A few Good Men and then went on to write The American President, Malice, Enemy of the State, The Rock and Excess Baggage.

He also adapted Ben Mezrich’s written account of Facebook and the legal battles of its founder, for the film ‘The Social Network’.

Success Tip 4: Even if things don’t seem to be working out, hold on to your dreams, they can still work out.


5. James Cameron

James Cameron is the brilliant writer behind award winning movies like ‘The Terminator’, ‘Avatar’ and ‘Titanic’. Born August 16, 1954 in Canada, Cameron moved to the US in 1971.

He majored in Physics at California State University, switched to English and then dropped out. In order to support his passion and ambition to be a screenwriter, Cameron started driving trucks.

His first professional film job was on Roger Corman’s Battle Beyond the Stars, released in 1980, in which he was the art director, miniature set-builder and process-projection supervisor. He went on to direct ‘Piranha 2: The Spawning’ and later wrote and directed ‘The Terminator’, which was a huge success.

He formed Lightstorm entertainment, his own production company in 1990. Titanic, a movie he wrote and directed in 1997 broke all box office records and earned eleven academy awards.

He is currently one of the most sought-after directors in Hollywood.

Success tip 5: You have to be ready to develop yourself.

In Conclusion

From the five inspiring success stories we’ve addressed, the main thing they all have in common, which brought them to limelight is; their determination and their ambition. You can’t go higher if you’re not determined and ready to go through the necessary processes.

Michael Gorman is a highly skilled freelance writer and proofreader from the UK who writes for such websites as Being interested in everyday development, he writes various blog posts and discovers new aspects of human existence every day. Feel free to contact him via Facebook or check his Twitter.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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  1. Hello RJ, I have come to really respect your posts, they are always informative.

    Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  2. I really appreciate how passionate all writers are. I like how they can produce such good writings every now and then. I really want to be a writer myself too and maybe that’s why I have the connection that’s keeping my passion for writing.

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