Screenwriter, producer, and director Robert Jury climbed the ladder in Hollywood through hard work and determination. He’s done the LA thing, and he’s also been successful as a writer living in his current home of Iowa City, Iowa. Over the course of a couple of decades, Jury learned that there’s no substitution for perseverance and passion.
Jury started his career as a script reader, interned at Warner Bros. Pictures and worked for Touchstone Pictures Company.
“Back in the old days, I would lug home a dozen or more scripts physically, and I started to see trends. I guess you could call them mistakes,” Jury said. “I learned a lot by reading a lot.”
Through that process, Jury said he discovered that he had a passion for writing.
“I started to realize, that maybe I could at least write this bad and that if you just stuck with it and you were passionate about writing, maybe you get an opportunity to get a movie made.”
‘Working Man,’ Jury’s latest film, is the culmination of a decade long project. The story follows a factory worker who continues going to his job every day, despite the factory being shut down. But Jury added, “At any given time, I’m working on 2-3 different screenplays in different phases of development … because you never know what may or may not pop.”
Between rejected scripts piling up in a corner somewhere, and new projects that take years to come to fruition, the screenwriter’s path to success often sounds daunting, albeit impossible. But is it hard to be a screenwriter? We asked Jury for an honest answer.
“I think being a writer is … not easy,” he began. “But I don’t know that I’d characterize it as being harder than any other job. Any job is going to be difficult at given times, but I think if you love it and you’re passionate about it, you should just pursue it.” But, be prepared that it’s an inconsistent line of work for most, he said, and “do whatever you need to do as a day job or whatever else to support that interest.”
Like any job, “you always encounter difficult hurdles,” he said. “You just have to be prepared to clear them and assume that you’re going to get there one day.”
It was encouraging to hear Jury say this because it seems writers mostly hear about how hard it is to pursue this dream, and how they should consider other options. But perhaps, other jobs that are ultimately fulfilling are also just as difficult. So why give up on your dreams?
“As a writer, you hope to get to a day where you really get to see audiences take in and appreciate something you’ve labored on for … a number of years,” Jury concluded. “This is a really satisfying payoff.”
SoCreate will make screenwriting a reality for more people around the globe. Maybe it will also make the profession more appealing and easier to pursue. Until then, I’d encourage you to go for it, just like Jury says.
Writing is worth it,
Courtney Meznarich, Director of Community Outreach