(this article originally appeared at Justin W. Hedges’ “The 3AM Screenwriter” blog on August 31, 2010).

I’m the last person that should be giving advice, but as it always goes, the last person who should give advice is the first person who does. Unless you feel like clicking away, you’re stuck with me.

The germ for this post started out as one piece of advice, my usually admonition of “go make a fucking movie.” But, in my caffeine-addled writing frenzy, it grew into two pieces of advice.

So, here’s my first piece of advice: Go make a fucking movie.

I have to write things to make. There’s no magical screenplay fairy that’s going to plop “the perfect script” down on my nightstand (yes, I stole that from Wong Kar-Wai, but he’s not here, and he didn’t coin the “screenplay fairy,” so screw him), so until that point that I lose my baby teeth, I’ve got to write.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Screenwriters, I can’t stress enough the import of going out and making your own movie. You will learn more about screenwriting by making a film than any seminar, book, script you study, or blog that crosses your educational path.

It doesn’t have to be huge. It doesn’t even have to be good. It just has to be more than the blueprint of a screenplay. Throw two people together in a room and see what happens. Make a movie about your arm-humping dog. I don’t care. You don’t need to show it to anyone. Just make something.

The tech is here and cheap. “Final Draft” is never the final draft – now you have the power to make your own final draft – a finished film. As a screenwriter, you now have the same power as a novelist. Use it. The only thing holding you back is your own fear of the unknown.

You will look at the scripts you’ve written and say “why the hell did I put this in? It’s just going to be crossed out.” It is the single best lesson in taking your ego out of the equation. All good directors (note the use of word “good”; there are more hacks out there than good ones) know that in order to make the best product (yes, films are a product) possible, the points of view of everyone have to be heard (if not implemented). Film is a collaborative medium, and your script is just the beginning.

I don’t view writing and directing as two separate things. It’s all writing – but more importantly, it’s all storytelling. It doesn’t matter what medium I work in (my current project, Whiz!Bam!Pow! involves feature films, shorts, comic books, radio shows, and games), it’s all storytelling, and scripts (and story bibles) function as the foundation on which I build all that other stuff. You know, the things with images and actors and stuff.

And with that, here’s my second piece of advice: Don’t limit yourself to screenplays. Dare to explore transmedia storytelling and all it has to offer. WhizBamPow is a transmedia project. There is a feature at its core, but the whole story is told across separate media.

Sure, go ahead and write your feature – but don’t be afraid to use short films and radio shows to explore the world you’ve created further. Write a comic book. You can make these things, and the market is there. Write a movie that’s exclusive for mobile consumption. Be available to your audience – because they don’t want to see your work when you want them to – they want to see it when they want to.

Engage your audience! Don’t settle for two hours when the world and story you create could be part of their lives for infinitely longer than the “ass in a chair for two hours while people kick your chair and talk on cell phones” excuse that passes for the cinematic experience nowadays.

Sure, it’s more work. But guess what? In order to succeed you have to be willing to go one step further than anyone else. Get used to it.

Be brave. Expore new forms. Challenge yourself. Exercise a different skill set. You’ll be amazed to find the itches you can scratch working on a radio show or a comic book. I’m writing both right now (in addition to a feature and four shorts), and it’s insanely wonderful to be free of the constraints of the film medium (and the producer’s hat). I can blow up planets and have huge flying fistfights. Have fun!

All of this pontificating does have a point. There is a single thread that holds both making your own fucking movie and transmedia have in common: Collaboration.

Collaboration between people, between artists and creatives. Between suits and t-shirts. Between left brain and right brain. Transmedia is collaboration between media – how can you make a comic book work with a movie, a radio show work with a short film, a novella with a mobile app? It is the single most important lesson all creatives have to learn, and both making your own movie and exploring transmedia encourage it:

Collaboration. Learn to collaborate. Learn to expand your horizons through the input of others who know more than you. You are here to serve the story inside you – not the other way around.

OK, I’ve got a (bunch of) fucking movie(s) to make.