The Helpful Reviewer

Write What You Know

Friday, August 30, 2019

Something all writers, especially aspiring writers, want to achieve, is to be noticed. They want to write that one script that will start their careers or propel them to a new level. What’s going to make that happen? Writing a great script. And how do you achieve that feat? One great way is to write a story only you could write. A script that lets your own unique experiences or life adventures infuse the story and characters with a sense of realism and uniqueness that makes it different from anything else out there.

Does this mean that you need to have flown to the moon to write a unique script? Of course not. You should write what you know in order for the script to feel realistic and grounded in truth, but that doesn’t mean that you need to have traveled to a different world to write a sci-fi movie. So what does it really mean? It means you can infuse your characters with real flaws, problems, obsessions, tragedies, etc that you’ve experienced and know first hand. Your emotional truth. For example, you can write a show or film that takes place in a hospital if you have spent a lot of time in one (as a patient or loved one), even if you didn’t go to medical school, as you can relate to the emotions as well as the daily events in such a place. Or you can write a love story set in space if you’ve been in love before (and research space movies!). So what’s my point? Write what you know. And let your own unique experiences make your story stand out in a way only you and your life stories can.

Cody Smart

Cody Smart


Cody is an independent writer and script doctor from Santiago, Chile. She attended the prestigious Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, where she double majored in English Literature and Linguistics, with a minor in Dramatic Literature. She moved to L.A. and got her MFA in Screenwriting at the New York Film Academy, Universal Studios location, while at the same time working at Sony Pictures as a reader and story analyst. She also received two Certificates from UCLA, in Development and Producing for Film and TV.

Aside from her years of experience as a studio reader, she’s a judge for multiple script and film competitions, has written some award-winning short films and feature film scripts, she’s been working as a script analyst and doctor for years helping writers take their scripts to the next level, and is currently the head of the coverage department at Story Data.