FEELING BLOCKED? CALL UP ONE OF YOUR
SHORTS SCREENPLAYS FROM THE MINORS
I’ve spent a lot of time developing my new feature length screenplay lately. It’s incredibly action heavy which is a big change for me so I’ve also been writing some action shorts as well. These scripts probably won’t see the light of day but it’s still fun to experiment.
It got me thinking about all the shorts I’ve written over the years. Some were written in the hopes of being produced and some have been produced. Some I wrote just to test a new waters while others I wrote to set up a future feature length project.
All of them are useful tools that have helped me improve my screenwriting skills. In this way, writing shorts is a great way to train yourself and work on your weaknesses. It’s a great way to become a better writer.
In this case, it’s the short scripts I intend to base features around that fit into my definition of:
The Screenplay Minor Leagues
It’s a different and fun way to look at your body of work. In my group of short screenplays there are a few standouts and there are scripts that are meant to be role players in a larger picture. Others will probably never be ‘called up’ but they still served a purpose at some point. The same can be said of Minor League Baseball players. Each player works hard to make it to the big leagues.
These players live to be called up someday and experience the next level. Not only that, they strive to excel at the next level.
Note: Before you ask, the answer is yes. I am comparing inanimate screenplays to living baseball players.
I think a lot about which short scripts I may call up someday. Ideas that can be expanded into feature length stories. Perhaps I’ll only use a character or a specific scene or element but having a stable of ‘players’ ready to go is a great way to kick start new ideas.
Are you stuck?
Why not retrieve some old scripts that are toiling away in the minors and see if they have what it takes to be pros. You never know when something will inspire you and bring an old idea back to life.
At the same time, if you find yourself stuck writing something new or attempting a different style, give a short screenplay a shot. It’s a way to take the pressure off when you aren’t trying to make sure every word fits into the big picture.
- Write an action scene and work on pacing.
- Write a funny story to see if you can make yourself laugh.
- Write a horrific scene and see if you can make yourself cringe in fear.
- Let other people read them. Get feedback.
The short screenplay I wrote last week to help get my mind into ‘action’ mode reminded me how much I love action movies. It also taught me to really think about my action sequences and make sure they are as entertaining as possible. Whether it gets produced or not, I feel better about tackling my feature script.