My screenplay writing goals for this year are: write 2 more screenplays; and edit 2 of the screenplays I’ve already written. This is a tall order considering the massive amount of other things going on in my life in 2013. However, with the proper planning and time management, I’m pretty confident that I can accomplish these things.
Tomorrow, I begin the seventh screenplay of my ongoing portfolio. I have several to choose from – those that I’ve mentioned on my website and those that I’ve sketched out in my mind and on paper in my ‘ideas’ pad. I have way too many stories to write and even less time to write them. For a lot of people the number 7 is lucky. I’m not superstitious, but I do hope something special happens with this one.
I’ve decided to go with a horror film – hopefully it will be light on the gore and heavy on the suspense. I’ve tentatively named it ‘Gary’ about a bullied teen who enacts revenge on his tormentors. That’s all I know about it. Everything (plot, characters, spine, climax) will fall into place as I write it – it always does. I set out to write a horror before – but it turned into a comedy. That’s not going to happen this time.
I’m giving myself until March 20 to finish a first draft – that day being the day of my blood and gore surgery (how ironic) which I’ll talk more about in a different post. After that, I’m definitely going to do that second draft of my sci-fi thriller ‘Final Decree’ which I’ve been avoiding for a long, long time because it’s so so long. Then I’m doing a re-write of my comedy ‘Postal’ – adding an element that I’ve been wanting to add for awhile. Then at the end of the year, I’m writing a holiday rom-com.
Until then, it’s on to screenplay #7.
Inconsiderate drivers are one thing (your car was built with a turn indicator – use it!), but inconsiderate winter drivers are just a bit more dangerous – read ‘dumb’.
After a snowstorm, how long do you think it would take you to clear the snow off your vehicle – no really, please time yourself. No, it doesn’t take 10 minutes. Try 2 or less.
I’ve seen idiots turn their windshield wipers on and think that that is enough to see – meanwhile the rest of the windows including the rear window are snow covered. Do you have x-ray vision to see through your back window when you’re backing up? How can you possibly see what’s around you? Oh, I forgot – you don’t care. Idiot.
That foot of snow that you left on the top of your car or monster truck… where do you think it goes… gently floating up into the air to be gathered by pixies? No! It gets blown onto the vehicle behind you, blinding the driver in a sudden blizzard. No, no, please continue your foolish habits in causing accidents that drive up insurance rates for everyone and cause endless irritation and lost productivity at work. What you are doing is such a great idea. Thank you. Thank you so much.
Do you not get how stupidly dangerous all this is – in your race to Starbucks to idle your vehicle in a lineup at the drive-thru where you will spend 3 to 5 times the amount of time it would have taken you to clean off your car?
I forgot. You’re part of the ‘I’ generation – entitled, thoughtless and self-centred. Please excuse me as you barge your way through life without regard for anyone else on the planet.
Although I’ve written many screenplays so far (6 I think), the key element to screenwriting is re-writing what you have written until you cannot possibly make it any better. The problem is, once you put what you have written aside for awhile, the urge to go back and tinker with it raises its ugly head. This is not a bad thing. Fresh eyes and a new perspective are great. It also means that once you have written a screenplay and say that it is complete – it is never complete.
The first screenplay I ever wrote took 10 drafts and over a year to finish. Even now (6 years later) I still open it up, read through it and make changes to it. I do that with all of the ones I have “completed”. The screenplays that I have listed as “completed” are the ones where I have gone through and made major structural changes until I am happy with the results. They then get put in the “completed” category. Usually one of two things happen: an independent third party reads it and makes suggestions; or I put it aside, a period of time passes and I think of new things to add or change.
Re-writing is the most important part of screenwriting. It is also the most time consuming and annoying part of the creative process. You’ve just written a screenplay and you think that it is a great accomplishment – it is, however you know that you’re not done. The framework of your story is there, the key elements are in place, but there are holes that need to be filled, beams that need to be replaced and a final coat of paint to make it look good. Even after all the decorating has been done and you put it away for a time, it more often than not will need a new coat of paint or even a room demolished or a room added.
Putting your screenplay aside and working on something else or even not thinking about it completely for awhile will often lead to new ideas – better ideas. You’ll continue to re-write your screenplay as long as it’s in your possession – no matter how small the change. This is a good thing. I’ve learned to embrace this challenge because ultimately you’re making your screenplay even better than that last final draft you did that you swore was the last one. It wasn’t.
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