The Business of Writing: Identifying Yourself as an Entrepreneur Writer

Protecting your identity as an artist

“The people who love their craft and see themselves as artists, and carry that identity through and study each day… are the people who thrive. … Successful people are able to sustain their identity as separate from their profession and what’s happening to them. That’s particularly important in the arts, where what happens to you bears only faint correlation to your talent.” Robert Maurer, PhD [From one of the pages on identity.]

That perspective seems appropriate at any time, but perhaps especially at the time of a Writers Guild strike, with screenwriters suffering a lack of respect for their talents.

Tony Gilroy, Tilda Swinton, George Clooney at 'Michael Clayton' premiere

The business of making a living

In his 2007 Los Angeles Times column article Come on, writers, script your futures, Patrick Goldstein writes, “As the writers strike enters its third week, I think the future belongs to a tantalizing new hyphenate: the writer-entrepreneur.”

He notes that Tony Gilroy, the writer-director of “Michael Clayton,” had a script “that was dead in the water until a total outsider…said if Gilroy could get a star and stick to a budget, he’d bankroll the film.

Gilroy didn’t see himself as an entrepreneur. He just had a script that was burning a hole in his pocket. ‘I’d say the experience was more about my wising up than becoming a visionary,’ he explained the other day. ‘But the moment I started chasing private-equity money, it didn’t take me long before I’d realized that I’d short-circuited the formula for getting a greenlight. I didn’t need studio approval. All I needed was one guy who believed in the movie.'”

Also see the site The Inner Entrepreneur.



  1. Gilroy had an advantage in being a director as well, but the principle is certainly valid. Another strategy is to see whether you can produce your material in another, less expensive, format first: novel, graphic novel, or play, for example. People are generally more prepared to buy into something that already exists.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *