June 16, 2012
SCREENWRITERS! You’ve just completed an epic new scene full of drama and/or excitement. You want to read it again but why limit yourself to a single scene? Why not read the entire script up to that point to see how it flows?
I’ve read books in the past that promote creating your first draft uninterrupted and then see what you’ve got. I don’t think that’s my style. I like going back to the beginning from time to time and scrutinizing the events leading up to my new scenes. But I’m also guilty of taking too much time away from crafting new material in favor of reading. At what point do you have to skip to the blank page at the bottom and type something new?
I mention it now because today, I caught myself reading things over because I was stuck. I knew the next scene that had to be written but it just wasn’t clicking. It’s one thing to plan a scene but it’s an entirely different beast when you have to write it. It turns out, I didn’t have a really clear idea of what I wanted the scene to be. I knew the players and the action but the details were lacking.
So I procrastinated.
I went back to page 1 and read everything I had… Slowly. While I wasn’t being overly productive, it still helped a lot. In the early stages of your first draft, there are bound to be a couple scattered grammatical errors. You can always work on the structure of your pages and the all important white space.
You can improve the language of the script. Find better ways to describe your world.
It’s important work but nobody will ever see it if you don’t finish the script right? There are pros and cons to everything. In the end, I decided to leave my script alone once I read it over. I stepped away. Some will argue that I wasted valuable time better spent writing new pages.
I think any time spent exploring the pages you’ve already written is still a productive exercise.
Have you ever found yourself reading your screenplay before it’s finished instead of writing new pages?
I think this post sums up a lot of my problems when it came to screenwriting. I always had the best intentions but always put things off. I was definitely productive that day but what I failed to mention was how much free time I wasted playing video games before I even opened up the script.
Ultimately, whenever I did write new material it was always worth the wait. I would always catch myself wondering why I put it off in the first place. The lesson? I need to stop complaining, procrastinating and most of all, I need to stop whining about it. I need to sit down, shut up and write screenplays.