Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Happy 10th anniversary, Go into the Story!

Scott Myers is the Cal Ripken of screenwriting.

Today marks the 10th anniversary of Scott's blog, Go Into The Story, a site for which no introduction will be adequate. Almost as soon as it came into existence, it was THE hub for everything screenwriting related. Scott not only has maintained a daily posting schedule since the beginning, he's maintained a routine of 4-6 posts a day for 10 years. These include features like The Business of Screenwriting, Reader Questions, Daily Dialogue, Script Breakdowns, Script Downloads, Interviews with working professionals, links and featured looks at the most important news in writing and the industry.... and much, much more.

It doesn't shock me that when Franklin Leonard was looking for an official blogger for The Black List, he went straight to Scott. I'd be hard-pressed to think of anyone who's given more to the aspiring screenwriter community so selflessly.

It's not easy maintaining a blog with a focus on writing. I've been blogging just over nine years and a few years ago I started feeling like I'd run out of things to say. Even just aggregating other articles and keeping the conversation going on some of these topics became too much to do while working full time and trying to advance my writing career.

Then I look at Scott, who's kept Go Into The Story running even after taking a job as Assistant Professor at DePaul University's School of Cinematic Arts, even as he takes time to be a mentor for the Black List Labs, and maintains private script workshops and Screenwriting Master Class. Heck, last year the man released 12 e-books about screenwriting. For free!

If it wasn't for Scott Myers, there's an excellent chance that far fewer of you would have ever been aware of me. I discovered Scott's blog almost exactly nine years ago, some four or five months after I started blogging. I think I was getting MAYBE 30-50 hits per day to the entire site back then.

I was trying to think of ways to extend my reach when I ran across GITS. I instantly recognized it as a treasure trove of screenwriting information. I was instantly addicted to this look behind the curtain from one of the writers of K9. He had a lot of great stories from his time in the industry and wasn't short on practical knowledge either. And back then, he was getting a lot of engagement in the comments. After reading for a few days, I noticed that Scott linked to other sites and would spotlight other screenwriting resources. I commented one whatever post was his featured post that day, keeping my fingers crossed that it would have the desired result.

It did. I soon got a email from Scott. As I hoped, my moniker caught his interest enough that he followed it back to my blog and saw the few months of posts. I guess what he saw made enough of an impression that he was interested in finding out more about me. I got bold and asked if he could do a shout-out to my site in a future post and he offered to go one better and feature a brief interview with me. I barely knew the guy, but he treated me like a friend. It was my first experience with making friends as "Bitter."

When the interview went live, my traffic immediately jumped to about 500 and then quickly 800 visits a day. Over the years, it would steadily grow higher, but Scott's spotlight was responsible for the biggest percentage jump in my visibility and engagement. He put me on the map and I will be eternally grateful for that.

It would be over four years until I actually got to meet Scott face-to-face. By then we'd traded dozens of emails, often conversing about some of the big changes in screenwriting that were affecting aspirings. It was good to have a sounding board to help make sense of whatever the heck was going on with the then-new Amazon Studios and more than once, our conversations were centered on "What can we do to help good writers get better?"

Scott's students are a fortunate group, indeed. But everyone who's read GITS for the last ten years can also count themselves as beneficiaries of Scott's generosity. A kinder gentleman you could not meet, and a more enthusiastic screenwriting teacher you could not hope to find.

I bristle at the term "screenwriting guru," especially when it's applied to me. (When the Grim Reaper comes for me, I BEG you to make sure that term appears nowhere near my obituaries.) I recognize it's usually applied with good intent, but even so, it feels wrong to use that phrase in reference to Scott. I prefer to think of him as our Yoda.

Congrats on ten years in the blogosphere, Scott! Here's to another decade of encouraging young screenwriters!

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