Do you read screenwriting books on a regular basis?
You might think that as I have five features under my belt as a screenwriter I wouldn't really need to read screenwriting guides? You would be wrong. Every writer, however experienced, should be reading as many screenwriting books as they can lay their hands on.
I don't know who the quote 'knowledge is power' is attributed to, but they knew their stuff. Knowledge is power! As a writer I don't want to get complacent. I can't afford to, there are far too many up and coming writers out there eager to step into my shoes. I need to keep on top of my game, constantly improving, refreshing my skill set and making sure I'm reading as widely as I can.
At the moment I'm reading THE TV SHOWRUNNER'S ROADMAP by Neil Landau. Even though it's written around the US system of writing teams there is still a lot that's relevant to the British TV writer. It's a cracking read and I'll review it when I finally find the time to finish it. I have also loaded up several screenwriting guides to my kindle, so when I'm on my travels I can still fill my bonce with writerly goodness.
I think it's important as a writer to find your own way to work. There are plenty of books that tell you exactly how you should write a screenplay and they can vary quite considerably in their approach. Over the years I've read a good few of them and taken a little from each to find my own writing style. However, I won't stop there. I'll keep on reading, keep on revising how I write my screenplays and I'll never stop doing this. Anything that improves the quality of my work has to be a positive thing.
So don't be shy, pop down to your local book store, or log on to Amazon, and get your head in a book. When you finish it, get another. When you finish that one, get another... and so on. Don't worry about cost, you can always trade them back in at Amazon. Now go and fill your head with as much writerly advice you can get your hands on and I promise you your writing will benefit from it.