Friday, August 27, 2010

5 more scripts

When the idea of screenwriting took proper hold of me, maybe a decade ago, I thought... right. I'll write 6 scripts. Then maybe I'll know a thing of two about writing. Then maybe I can go forth into the world with my 6 scripts, and say... If you don't like that one, then how about this one? Or maybe this one...

Currently, all tallied up, I have 4 more scripts to go. And one major rewrite on one of the ones I have written. So basically, I have one script. ONE script that I can present without an overwhelming sense of anxiety and shame.

What the hell have I been doing for 10 years?

Other than working and socializing and welding and doing heaps of other things other than writing!! That said, I have spent the past year as a writer for hire for Producer Joe in LA, which has been a blast, and with any luck and the grace of God, will turn into a real live screen credit and cold hard cash.

So, then what the hell have I been doing for the 9 years before that!!

This has come to my attention because some people have asked to read one of my scripts. The one. The only. I am screwed if they say "What else have you written?" Bubkis doesn't sound good. But it's the horrific truth. If the ball starts rolling, it's not going to roll far.

I need to get offa my ass. Big time. And I feel that now is the time. I have studied screenwriting up the jing jang, analyzed, evaluated, read, practiced, blogged, joined groups, and talked about screenwriting until the cows have come home, been butchered, the steaks have been cooked, digested and pooped out the other side. I'm sure there are a million things left to learn. But this phase is done.

My friend, Producer Joe, told me that I have ten good screenwriting years left in me, and if I haven't made it by then, no one will want me because I'll be too old and so will my stories. He also told me I should be writing 10 scripts a year. And that I should be writing full time. (I guess the 10 scripts a year would indicate full time.)

And all I can say is....

AUGH!!!!!!!!!!!! Augh.

I am toying with the idea of taking 3 months off, and writing 3 scripts. A script a month. It's doable (don't tell me what I can't do!). I have three outlines done. Mostly. More or less. A good solid month on each, and I would be that much closer to my 6 script goal. The question is when is it ever appropriate to take 3 months off work?

Today I spent the day at a workshop listening to the incredibly kind, giving and clever Christopher Vogler. He wrote the hugely popular "The Hero's Journey". It was an amazing day full of insights and gems. The last one being "Trust the Path."

So, I will trust the path. I trust that I will complete my 6 scripts. I might not have the details worked out, but somehow, someway, they will be done before end of next year. It's a mystery. And it's kind of exciting.

As always, encouragement is gratefully accepted. (I believe that you can never encourage a writer enough! We are generally a pit of exposed nerves, that only a kind word about our craft can protect.)


  1. Ten scripts a year is absurd. I think quality will suffer. I'm pushing it, hoping to finish four this year. Going to finish number three in a weeks time. But it is not very good. Schlock horror. Quality not quantity. Though both would be nice, wouldn't it =)

    Julian W

  2. Congrats on finishing #3!!!! Woohoo! That's awesome. If it's the 1st draft, then it's not supposed to be good. But I'm sure the 2nd draft will kick ass! ; )

    Producer Joe and his partners make 10-14 movies a year. Crazy, eh? I'm sure that quality does suffer in some cases. The script I just wrote for them, I had two vacations over the time I was supposed to be writing. One was to get married. The other was a family trip. So by the time I got home, they were like... where's the freakin script!?! I was at page 30. In one week, I finished the script. 93 pages. It was a hard week, as I was also working full time, although I did reduce my normal 50 hour work week to 40.

    So that proved to me that I can write quickly when I put my mind to it. I am a planner, so I knew the outline and characters, and I just had to write it. To be fair, it's not a complicated script. But in some ways, it made it harder, as I enjoy complicated. So keeping it simple was a bit of a challenge for me. Yet, another good learning experience.

    So, are you planning on making the schlock horror yourself? If you're interested, I have a recommendation for a book called "Rewrite" by Paul Chitlick. It really helped me get through a hard rewrite.

  3. Oh, god, no. I am going to pitch it to SyFy. I like their low budget aesthetic. I don't know why, but I do. Congrats on the wedding. I've been listening to an audio class I found online. It's 14hrs of John Truby talking to students. I think he's one of the more astute 'gurus' I will look Chitlick up though, so thanks for the lead.


  4. To My New ScreenwritingU Buddy-
    Reading your blog was like someone entering my mind and putting into words what rattles around. I too often wonder how so many hours of writing has only materialized into four scripts. Keep writing, you're awesome!

    Tracy (aka packerryan, and I had no idea when I entered that as my user name it would be my username!

  5. Hi Tracy!!
    FOUR scripts is HUGE achievement. And thanks for the encouragement. Back atcha sister!

    I have been meaning to ask you about "packerryan"...