Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tuesday Talkback - Kick in the ass

Right now I'm staring at two fairly solid treatments for feature films I have yet to write. I have spent a fair amount of time refining them and working on them because like any real writer, I procrastinate actually writing the script until the last possible moment.

I have decided that I'm going to force myself to write at least five pages a day until I finish the first draft of one of them. In the past, this has proven successful, as I'll usually get on a roll, finish the first act in two days, sew up the second act within a week, and then take five days or so to get the third act done.

That's when I'm writing consistently. When my schedule is broken up by work and other obligations, I find it difficult to get the momentum going and the full process takes a bit longer.

So what's your method for kicking yourself in the ass?


  1. Thinking about my day job and reminding myself the only way out of it was writing usually worked for me!

  2. Set a lunch meeting to discuss your script with someone who you do not want to let down, then write-- knowing that you must get a draft completed before the lunch.

    Nothing motivates me like working under a strict deadline.

  3. Five pages? Wow, I try for three a day, if I'm lucky. My momentum? I've never written a full movie script before, and I want to prove to myself that I can do it. Not to mention, the fun I'll have telling people "Yeah, I wrote a movie script!" (even though it'll never see the light of day) :D

  4. With being in school, I have limited time to write. But once I get in the zone, I'll stay up all night (because I'm not in the zone that often), and just write write write. SO BASICALLY WHAT IM SAYING -- is if you ever feel in the mood to write, DO IT.

    Also, am I the only one who doesn't really outline or do a treatment before a script -- I kinda set it up in my head and remember that way.

  5. I am on a roll right now, writing during my lunch break, after work, any time I can grab during the weekend. This sounds weird, but having a good book to read really helps me out. Reading a few pages on the commute to work/right before bed must get the words flowing or something.

    Sort of like, if I'm not reading, I can't write.

    Deadlines don't work, I have enough of those already.

    Keep a low-pressure opinion of what you write.

    Don't plan too much.

    That's about all I've got...

  6. Just do it every day. Find an hour or so, whether at morning, afternoon or night, and write.

    Mornings work for me... before the craziness of the world intrudes.

    But if you do it every day, that shit adds up!

  7. I can't seem to be able to write treatments. I like an outline and I have scenes in my head, then as I write I have 'realizations' about how the characters would get there - and so often act 3 is a surprise to me.
    Motivation? If I write enough (that I like) I go watch a movie. Nice reward.

  8. I have a lot of trouble getting anything meaningful done unless I set aside at least three or four hours to write. I know a lot of people swear by the "little bit every day" rule... but for me it's just never worked - even with a strong scene outline.

    I try to write, not by page numbers, but by scenes. If I can get one or two whole sections of story written... I feel like I can sleep. They don't have to be in order. Whatever part of the story has been floating around in my brian the most is where I go to work. I find this will naturally jump around as I finish scenes and start to understand how they need to color others within the same plot-line. If I have several shorter scenes (<1 page) that form a sequence, then I'll treat the whole sequence as one "scene" requirement for the day. This usually means I'm writing anywhere from three to eight pages in a sitting, but always with a whole piece of the puzzle to show for it afterwards.

    I like measuring by scenes because it encourages me to stick with a tough section. Let's say my goal is two scenes. If I'm stuck on something, either because I'm mentally lazy and don't want to solve a particular problem... or because I'm too scared to make a choice, then I can jump to an easier scene, but then the half-finished one doesn't count for the days work - only complete scenes do. So I'm doing "extra" work for the day if I flake out on a hard one.

    It also helps me stay close to the audience. They won't perceive the film in pages or minutes, but in chunks of story - in scenes. Ergo, this is also how I try to mentally break up the daunting task of completing a screenplay.