Friday, April 9, 2010

Screenwriting Resources and My Public Announcement

I'm halfway through writing a screenplay. Well, maybe more like three quarters, I don't know. It's tough to say. The whole thing's written out (except for the second half of the third act, but I know where I'm going there) and I just keep going over it and over it and over it... I've been working on it for a while now, at least six months. Truth be told, if I could do nothing but write all day long, not only would I be done now, I would've been done months ago. Instead, I try to get, on average, an hour a day in. It's not a lot and sometimes that hour accomplishes nothing... and sometimes I don't even get that hour in. Balancing life and a full time job with a passion that I'd like monetize isn't exactly as easy as pie. Then again, I can't make pies. Regardless, the end is near. I started writing this script after I came up with the goal of writing at least one script per year until... something happens. Maybe until one of them sells, there's a big career change in my life or something to that effect. It sounded easy when I came up with it. My main problem is that, usually, I love working on multiple projects at once, but when it comes to writing... I can't do it. It's like trying to make a baby with nine women over one month, as opposed to making a baby with one woman over nine months. Sounds good on paper, but it's not going to work. So, when it comes to writing, I uni-task, no multi-tasking. When other ideas pop in my head, I write them down and put them in a folder on my desktop and forget about them. Then, when I'm done with this one, I'll go through them all, pick another idea and waste a year of my life on that. So, why am I telling you all this? Two reasons. One, I thought I'd share a couple of good resources that I've unearthed and, two, I read somewhere that when you announce your goals publicly, they have a better chance of coming true. There you go, a script a year... I said it.

My new favorite resource for screenwriting is Pilar Alessandra's "On The Page". Pilar is a teacher and lecturer, as well as a consultant. Her students and clients have sold to Disney, DreamWorks, Warner Bros and Sony and have won lots of prestigious awards. She worked her way up through being a script reader and later a Senior Story Analyst for various studios before getting into the whole teaching game. She started "On The Page" in 2001, started up a writers studio in 2004, created an instructional DVD and presents a weekly podcast. Now, you'd think that with a bio like that, she'd be about as entertaining as an insurance seminar, but she's great. She has guests on all the time and their banter makes you feel like you're in the scene and it makes the whole screenwriting process seem very doable. I highly recommend subscribing to her podcast. Go to her site, and read up on her.

The other resource that I recently picked up is a book by Brooke A. Wharton called "The Writer Got Screwed (but didn't have to)". I'm a film school grad, I've taken advanced screenwriting courses and I've read dozens of screenwriting books and countless scripts. However, I've never read a book about the actual business practices of writing for the entertainment industry and that's exactly what this book is. Most books are about HOW to write, this is about what to do AFTER you've written. If you're an aspiring writer, I highly recommend it. Here's a LINK to the books page on Amazon.

So, that's all I have for this week and I'm hoping to actually get a couple of hours of writing in today. I think I have the time. Anyone else out there currently working on a project? Throw something in the comments section. Remember, if you announce it publicly, it has a better chance of coming true. Have a great weekend!


Zadora said...

Good luck with it!

I wrote five last year. This year only one and a few shorts. I try to write at least five pages every day. Make a habit to write every day even if some of it is crud. Sometimes it's a chore, but that discipline is needed...and thanks for the links!

Barry said...

I came up with what seems to be a crazy and unattainable goal at the beginning of the year. I want to spend two months on six scripts (first drafts only), and this way I'd have six to go on to next year and polish and rewrite. Pain in the ass for sure, but I'm working on it.

Had a pile of story ideas and so on so it's basically choosing and doing. Hard as hell but it's something to try to aim for. Whether I finish six is another question for a other day, but it's got me doing a ton of work towards that goal so I ca t complain

Dead Harvey said...

Five and six scripts in a year??? How much do you write each day? I must obsess about the small things too much...

Dead Harvey said...

I should follow that up with saying, "congratulations". That's great... please keep me posted on any success that you have with any of them!

Zadora said...

I write a minimum of five pages/day.

I don't expect any success with any of them as I know how hard it is to get read, not to mention being produced. I have one feature I have some hopes with though...Roach Motel. It is currently being re-written by a pro friend of mine and I have some connections to send it to.

It is due to this difficulty that I have become a producer know, "if you want something done, you better do it yourself". :)