12 weeks give or take.
Enough time to get this rewrite done.
Pages written so far: 30
Around this time last year I bought the following items.
The mug was a birthday present for a nice girl.
I do hope she didn't put me in a story and kill me, although I wouldn't blame her.
I do hope she's still writing her novel.
The Writer Emergency Pack and the coaster were bought to inspire me to start writing. My creative well had dried up at this point. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. They've been collecting dust on my desk for the last twelve months. With that said, I've just opened the Writer Emergency Pack and taken a quick look through the cards.
If you've come to a brick wall, and can't find a way over it, this deck of cards will go a long way to help. Obviously, it won't do the work for you, but the ideas will definitely get you thinking.
Definitely recommend to all writers. Not just screenwriters.
Can you use these pictures to create a story?
What do we have here?
A treasure map.
A red dinghy.
A gold key.
A hermit that hides away in a cave on the beach.
A chunk of cobalt aura quartz.
A red moon.
An antique trunk.
Let's throw in a mother and kids, or maybe a dad and his two teenage kids that have moved to the seaside for various (mysterious) reasons. Reasons that will be revealed to us as the story unfolds.
What if the kids come across the hermit while on the beach?
What if the hermit is somehow related to the kids or the parents?
What if the single parent warns the kids to stay away from the hermit?
What if the hermit is a relative or even one of the parents?
What if the town sheriff isn't too keen on the new arrivals and tries to get them to leave the town?
What if the town sheriff has their own agenda?
Give yourself a goal.
1. One rewrite.
2. New script.
3. Possibly a pilot script.
And that's it.
My goal for the year.
A unique phrase.
Do your characters say things that set them apart from the others?
Got characters doing the same thing.
Combine them into one character.
If they're taking up too much screentime, and not adding much to the story.
Get rid of them!
But having a rough idea as to how your story starts, progresses and ends will certainly help when it comes to putting words on the page. This roadmap can be any length, long, short, fat or thin. And as detailed as you want it.
Throw in some dialogue for good measure. Get some of those characters interacting and talking to each other. Pick a scene, and get writing.
There's no single way to write a screenplay, but the more work you do beforehand will certainly help when it comes to the actual writing.
Time to set some new writing goals.
Setting up the situation these characters find themselves in.
Protagonist vs. Antagonist.
What and who is stopping them from achieving these goals?
Currently, I'm working on my third rewrite of the year. At the start of the year, I made it a goal to rework three previous scripts, rather than start any new projects. This was my goal for a twelve-month period. As it stands, I seem to be on target, although getting this third concept to actually work is a lot trickier than I first envisioned. The concept and idea are there, but the actual execution of the story sucked somewhat in previous versions. Great idea! But this story is boring, slow, repetitive, and not much is really happening. Hence, the rewrite. But I'm going off on a tangent.
From experience, setting yourself realistic writing goals is a must. Otherwise, you end up putting way too much pressure on yourself, and not putting enough time, energy and thought into any one project. Writing a million screenplays in a year will not help you in any way, shape or form if they all suck!
As for which project or projects you should consider working on after putting aside that current draft of the one you've just finished.
Again, this is personal.
Have you made a list?
Do you have a folder on your laptop containing five possible ideas and projects that you're considering working on at some point?
Out of those five, which of them have you visualized scenes, characters, an actual narrative for?
How many notes have you made for each of those ideas?
I have a list of four projects.
Out of those projects, the two that I really want to write have by far the most notes. As I write this, I can see the opening scenes or sequence of scenes as the main characters are introduced in one of them. These opening scenes have been playing out in my imagination for quite some time. The same can be said of the other one. As for the third project, that's going to be a rewrite.
Cutting a long story short.
Which story or stories do you feel the most passionate about?
If they're continually playing out in your head, eating away at you, nagging your subconscious, then you probably need to get that first draft down on paper.
The One With The Agent
Excellent podcast. Very insightful. Go here!
Script consultants. Script readers.
That charge silly amounts of money for notes and feedback.
95 percent of screenwriting competitions.
And the list goes on!
These are all businesses that have been created for one thing. And that is to remove your hard earned money from your wallet, and bank account. They're there to make money. That's not to say you shouldn't pay someone a reasonable amount for their time, especially if you find their feedback useful and constructive. Just be weary of people that charge ludicrous amounts of money. Hundreds of dollars, thousands of dollars. They may come across as people in the know, but really, if they were that good, they'd be writing scripts and getting movies made, or at the very least, selling their scripts.
99.99 percent of the time, they're not.
That's not to say that you shouldn't enter contests either. I only enter one contest a year, and that's just to see how my work stacks up against other writers. It's also a good way to set yourself a deadline.
And, just because you're a quarter or semi-finalist, doesn't mean you have a badly written script, it just means it didn't gel with whoever was reading it at the time. So keep at it.
It's your writing that matters.
And the stories you tell.
Correcting punctuation and grammar.
Sentence construction, and how the story is laid out on the page.
While the above is important, this is not rewriting.
You might well smile with relief on finishing that first draft. But don't be fooled. You have plenty of work ahead in getting that script up to scratch.
Don't be frightened of getting some feedback on that story you've just finished. Ideally from some trusted sources. Or at the very least, from people who write themselves, and know something about creating story. A lot of writers shy away from getting feedback because they're worried about being told that what they've written isn't very good. But that's the point. You need to know what's working and what's not.
Once you've received feedback, put that finished script and the notes away for a while. Two weeks. Three weeks. A month. Several months. A year! Step away from it. Step back. Put it out of your mind. Forget about it.
Be productive while stepping away from this newly finished project. Start work on the next project that's been bugging you. Make some notes. Come up with some new ideas. Characters. Scenes. Write an outline for this new project. You could even write the first draft.
Once you feel you've been away long enough, go back to the project. Read through the notes you've received. Then read through the script. See what works, and what isn't. A boring first act? Perhaps the second act is dragging? Characters that don't appear to be doing anything? Just because someone has mentioned something, doesn't mean it's right. It doesn't mean it's wrong either. Consider writing a new draft based on feedback that you like. Then consider writing another draft based on the feedback that you're not too keen on. Who knows? You might find that you like that draft.
Take a break.
Re-energize those creative juices.
Then repeat the process.
You need to be constantly writing to be in this.
Because if you're not, someone else will be!
This is Sarah.
Even though she looks in the mirror every day, and men drop at her feet with their tongues hanging out whenever she walks into a bar. For some strange, inexplicable reason she just doesn't realize how beautiful she is!
Wardrobe, hair, makeup.
As much as it pains some writers.
You need to get your work out there by any means possible.
To see how it stacks up.
Having a script sitting on your computer or hidden in a drawer won't be doing you a whole lot a good.
If you can afford it, why not try a contest or two.
A good place to start would be the following:
The Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting
The Austin Film Festival
PAGE International Screenwriting Awards
There are a few others worth checking out.
Do your research!
A new year.
Means a new set of goals.
Be realistic in what you want to achieve.
Working on too many projects might mean you're spreading yourself far too thinly, and not giving enough time and effort to any one writing project.
What if this scene goes here, rather than there?
What if this character does this, rather than that?
How will the story change if I remove this character?
Will the story be better if I introduce this character or group of characters much earlier on?
What if I use the 3rd Act as the opening instead?
What if I change the sex or age of my protagonist?
What if I change the goals these characters are trying to achieve?
Just because you've written it on the page, doesn't mean it has to stay that way.
Good thing about words, they can be
Don't settle for that 1st draft.
Keep developing the characters.
Write them down.
They might well be a starting point for a story.
A character that you've dreamed up.
A situation that this character finds themselves in.
Perhaps you have an ending in mind for a story.
How will you get to this ending?
Getting this character or group of characters from A-to-B-to-C and so on.
A scene that keeps playing out in your head that you can't get rid of.
A bit of dialogue.
A bit of action.
What if this happens?
What if that happens?
What's the essence of this story?
What's it really about?
A few screenplays worth checking out here.
Lots of other good stuff as well.
Nice little article
There'll be times when you'll feel like throwing in the towel.
Keep at it.
Find that one story. Then work on it. Get that first draft out of the way.
If that one doesn't go as planned. Get on with the next one.
Don't stop writing.
You don't really need to do any of these things.
Read Screenplays. Watch Movies. Read Screenplays.
And more importantly.
Write! Write! Write!
Write when you can.
Set aside a few hours a day.
Ideally, every day.
If not, set aside a day, or two a week.
An evening or two.
Work those writing muscles as often as you can.
Read as much as possible, and as often as you can!
It all helps!
Feed your imagination with as much as you can.
Everything and anything!
Get your main character (protagonist) up a tree.
Setup the world they live in. What's their life and situation like?
What do they need and want as the main character? Give them a problem and a difficult choice that takes them into the second act. What will the consequences be if they do or don't take up the challenge in front of them?
Throw lots and lots of stones and rocks at them.
Plenty of obstacles and hurdles that they must overcome as they make their way through the story.
Making the right and wrong choices along the way.
What, or who is standing in the way of them achieving their goals?
Get them down from the tree.
What do they need to overcome, both internally and externally to get them to the end of the story?
What have they learned about themselves?
Do they have a character arc by the end of the story?
How is their life now compared to the start of the story?
Is it opposite to how they started out?
Screenwriting - where to start?
With the internet, it's a lot easier than you think.
If you want to read some awesome screenplays, go here.
Then go buy, or rent the movies.
See how things compare onscreen, to what's been written on the page.
Look at when things occur.
How does the story unfold?
You don't need to spend large amounts of money!
Read Screenplays. Watch Movies. Read Screenplays.
Welcome to Russell’s website. A storyteller who enjoys writing screenplays for movies. Even though the process is hard. It keeps his imagination working overtime.
Take a Look
Done Deal Pro
London Screenwriters' Festival
Screenwriting from Iowa
Chris Jones Blog
Go Into The Story
Nerdist Writer's Panel
The Bitter Script Reader
The Hollywood Reporter
U.S. Copyright Office
Inside Film Magazine
Save the Cat
The Black List
Writers & their Blogs
Selling Your Screenplay
Script Doctor Eric
Geoff La Tulippe