Corey Mandell explains the essential ‘x factor’ which makes a screenplay fascinating: compelling conflict – citing Neil Simon and David Mamet. He used to teach a class for the one or two who obviously had what it takes – before developing practical skillset exercises for most of the class to succeed as writers.
The one book he requires his students to read is: “Mindset” by Dr Carol Dweck:
Growth mindset says that talent is repeatable skill sets – which you can be born with, or develop them as child or adult. If they weren’t repeatable, it would just be luck.
His example – Gary, a writer who wrote great character and dialogue – but who couldn’t get scripts sold – he was missing one skill: how to keep building tension and plot development. He then worked on that area for four hours a day for 3 months – and then was as good in that area as a naturally gifted writer.
“That’s the really cool thing about talent: it’s repeatable skill sets. And you can learn these skillsets and you can develop them if you know how to train yourself and you want to put the time and energy into it.”
Find your strengths and weaknesses as a writer – work on the weaknesses.