Lessons Learned from a Hollywood Screenwriter

Managing Real Estate Broker with LoKation Real Estate

Lessons Learned from a Hollywood Screenwriter - Over the years we come across a variety of different people, friends, family, acquaintances, classmates and more. Some come and go and some just seem to keep circling back around.

We can learn (hopefully) from every interaction and from every single thing we do. I try to keep an Hollywood
open mind and learn from these experiences and interactions that happen in our day to day life. Some are obviously more educational than others, but they all count.

Recently a few "old" high school classmates gathered to reconnect and among those classmates was one in particular that I have stayed in touch with. We were by no means great friends in high school, but we played football together and one of his best friends was also one of my best friends. I am not going to be giving names here, just out of professionalism, but this classmate actually made it very big in Hollywood. He has written dozens of movies, screenplays and television shows over his career and as we were catching up, I mentioned that my sons girlfriend is studying film and communication and my son is studying music with a business degree.

 He told me that they should get together to see how he can help. I love this about most successful people, they are very giving and willing to share their expertise (lesson #1, be a giver). Now my son and his girlfriend are both seniors and will be graduating in two weeks and the college they attend is not exactly convenient for them to come to Denver to grab coffee for a couple hours and head back to class, but in this case, they made an exception.

We met my old classmate at his office, and he was more than generous with his advice to someone seeking to get into the film and music industry, so many stories and connections that he has made over his career, it was as if we were listening to an incredible storyteller (which he is), we were sitting on the edge of our seats as he shared projects, failures and successes, and a 25 year career as a writer in Hollywood.

He told us a couple stories that really resonated with anything you do in life, especially as someone that needs to sell for a living (almost all of us have to sell something, whether it is ourselves for an interview or for a first date, or for our potential clients) He mentioned early on in his career having the good fortune to meet other great writers, in fact his original goal was not to write movies and plays, but to write novels, so he read the 100 greatest novels ever written, to see what other writers, especially the greatest writers (lesson #2, follow the advice of someone you want to emulate) have done and how they craft their product.

WriterHe told us after reading his 20th novel, it clicked with him, he was understanding the style that each author had developed to become great, so as he continued to read, he started writing. What he learned first was that you need to capture your audience within the first few pages (lesson #3 - be captivating). or in a movie within the first few minutes of the film (or in our world within the first few seconds of our meeting). Early on in a movie or a novel you must present a question, an intriguing question that keeps the audience wanting more, and builds through-out to keep the audience engaged so they will stay to find the answer.

You also have to realize that you can't possibly win over everyone (Lesson #4 - know your audience) you must know your audience and be able to communicate to them (Lesson #5 - Communicate your message)

I asked him why he felt he was able to stand out from the countless millions of others that have tried to do what he had done,  he said it was never about the money, it was just that he wanted more than anything else to be a writer and nothing was going to stop him from doing what he believed was his reason for being! (Lesson #6 & #7 It's not about the money, but about being passionate about what you passiondo) He said, the funny thing is that if you do what you love, and believe in what you are doing then you will find ways to make things work out, you will be able to get through those difficult times when nothing seems to be working and the majority of others will quit. and when you get through those tough times, you are much stronger for it and the financial rewards start to come in.

I honestly could have sat and listened to his stories for days, and so could my son and his girlfriend. He told us over and over again, how blessed he was and how thankful he was for all of the opportunity he was given (Lesson #8 - be thankful for what you have) He truly loves what he does and his work and life blend together as one (Lesson #9 - Love what you are doing, Do What you love) He feels that he has not worked a day in 25 years and would not have life any other way.

gratitudeAt the end of our meeting he offered both my son and his girlfriend an opportunity to come to work for him after they graduate. They will definitely take him up on his offer. I honestly was not expecting them to both get job offers, but the film industry is always looking for talent and music is a big part of the industry, and why not start out working for someone that has so much to give! (Lesson #10 - Make Someones Day Today) - (sorry that is my personal motto)

Posted by


John Marshall -Fore!

Low-Maintenance Golf Course Living

I have been involved in the Golf Communities through-out Colorado for the past several years. As a contributing writer for Colorado Golf Magazine I write articles regarding new course development and their surrounding communities.


"A good agent will learn to dance to the clients music, but a great agent will write the music that attracts the clients he wants to dance with." John J Marshall

If you are a new agent and finding the road more difficult than you thought, please send me a note and I would be happy to help.

I enjoy helping agents to find their niche!

 I am happy to help.


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Laura Filip
Laura Filip Broker , Opening doors for All Seasons of Life - Whitesboro, TX
What can we do for you today?

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. So true do what you love and love what you do. Be thankful for what you have and work towards what you want. Have a blessed day Sir. 

Apr 21, 2017 05:50 PM #5
Dörte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear John,

This is true for our industry too. No sane person would work these hours unless they really enjoy helping people with their housing needs. If we do a good job, we get to eat too.

Apr 21, 2017 06:23 PM #6
John Wiley
Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

I fully support the attitude that we should be Givers. The world is full of takers and people are getting tired of the attitude.

We need to listen, to know their needs and then care enough to help them.

Thanks for a wonderful message.

Apr 21, 2017 06:57 PM #7
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

John- I loved reading every single word of your post!  How nice of your friend to take the time to share his experience with you and your son and his girlfriend. How exciting for them!!!  And the tips you shared?  Ones that ring true for all of us. 

Apr 21, 2017 07:06 PM #8
Mary Jo Quay
EXP Realty - Minneapolis, MN
I Move You Home

Your friend has given your son and girlfriend an enormous gift. Schools can teach you the techniques, but they can't teach anyone to make art.  They can't make them stay awake late tweaking, revising, doing it all over from the beginning to make it work.  Knowing artists and writers who do the work are priceless. 

Apr 21, 2017 07:56 PM #9
Beth Bromund
Coldwell Banker Weir Manuel - Rochester, MI
REALTOR (248) 651-3500

You did a great job of weaving in the lessons from Hollywood into life lessons.   How great for your son and his girlfriend!

Apr 21, 2017 08:14 PM #10
Mick Michaud
Distinctly Texas Lifestyle Properties, LLC Office:682/498-3107 - Granbury, TX
Your Texas Lifestyle is Here!

Thanks for sharing.  Passion in what you do and for what you do. 

Apr 22, 2017 01:55 AM #11
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

I loved reading this and each lesson hit home with me. What an amazing opportunity for your son and his girlfriend!

Apr 22, 2017 04:38 AM #12
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

the theme shared here is ageless...May it visit with us all

Apr 22, 2017 06:12 AM #13
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi John

What a wonderful gift from your friend, for your son and his girlfriend, and for us as well. Loved this post.


Apr 22, 2017 07:42 AM #14
Carin - Top Agent in Carlsbad


Apr 22, 2017 02:34 PM #15
Carin Molin
Top Agent Realty Group - Carlsbad, CA
Home - Where Life Happens, We lead You to it!

(Didnt mean to privately post earlier)

Apr 22, 2017 02:37 PM #17
Paul McFadden
Paratex - Seattle, WA
Pest Control, Seattle, WA.

Great story. Thanks for sharing these pearls of wisdom!

Apr 23, 2017 07:42 AM #18
Kathleen Luiten
Resort and Second-Home Specialist - Princeville, HI
Kauai Luxury Ocean Home Sales

This is a wonderful and inspiring post, John. Full of good advice and a reminder to share our wisdom generously.

Apr 23, 2017 10:40 AM #19
Kim Gaston
RE/MAX Advantage Realty - Colorado Springs, CO
Colorado Springs REALTOR®, CNE (719)661-6987

You're a good dad for reaching out to make things happen for your son and his girlfriend. What a great and giving friend! I love your #10, you seem pretty good at it.

Apr 23, 2017 09:41 PM #20
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

What a wonderful experience for all of you! I love the lessons you have shared. 

Apr 24, 2017 03:29 AM #21
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Worked in broadcasting in an earlier life and knowing who you are talking to in the audience and quickly letting them know you see them. That works best otherwise busy people are wasting their time and will flit. They get bored, want to be entertained but fed quickly and creatively. Good luck with your young family members who are getting into new careers. Maybe that involve film.

Apr 24, 2017 08:09 AM #22
Schaunon Winter

John, I've said many times, you are the ultimate connector! And, this is a wonderful example of that amazing quality of yours. Congrats to all involved in this story!

Apr 24, 2017 05:28 PM #23
Sharon Parisi
United Real Estate Dallas - Dallas, TX
Dallas Homes

This is good advice for all types of business endeavors.  The Robert Louis Stevenson quote is perfect for your post.

May 06, 2017 11:04 PM #24
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

That was inspiring.  I bet he could learn some good stories from those poor kids at the Dry Bones diner.

May 16, 2017 08:39 PM #25
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