WRITE NOTES. WRITE EMAILS. WRITE SCREENPLAYS
I’m notorious for emailing myself updates on my screenplays. My ’312′ folder is full of emails about stories I want to write, stories I’m writing, stories I need to rewrite and plans for stories I’ve completed.
Even though I can write screenplays almost anywhere these days thanks to my iPhone and apps like Celtx, it’s still difficult to truly get in the zone some days. So what do you do when you can’t find a couple hours to fill up the blank pages?
THE SCREENWRITING EMAIL
Personally, I find these emails to myself invaluable when it comes to planning my writing schedule, solving story problems and brainstorming new ideas. My emails usually fall into 1 of 3 categories.
- Project Recaps
- Story Trailers
I find each of these three types of emails inspire and keep me motivated in useful ways.
1. PROJECT RECAPS
These emails are basically lists of all the stories I’m currently working on. These lists vary in size and detail but they give me a good idea of the work I have ahead and how much fun it will be. They are usually formatted like this:
Story Name | I use the word name instead of title because I sometimes hold off on titles in the early stages of development.
Genre | It’s nice to step back and see a little diversity in my writing. I try to challenge myself to take on new genres often.
Stage | I have 4 stages. Idea, World, Development, Script
The ‘idea’ stage is straight forward. At this point, I’ve got a concept I’m excited about but nothing more. The ‘world’ stage is all about characters, setting and the major details of the story. This is the stage where I try to find an overall tone and voice for the story. The development stage is self explanatory. I try to iron out every single detail of the story leading to my first outline in point form. Stage 4 is screenwriter’s favorite. Time to write the screenplay.
Target | I number my projects 1-5 with 1 being the top priority. Ties are allowed. This number is accompanied by a target completion date. A date I normally never hit but it keeps me moving forward.
2. STORY TRAILERS
I actually adore writing these. Once a script is deep in the development stage, I like to write trailers for my scripts. They aren’t formatted in any particular way but I think it’s important to try and describe the exciting elements of a story. I don’t necessarily write a trailer I intend to see someday but it’s my first real shot at selling the movie to myself. If I don’t believe in it, why would anyone else?
These emails are made up of pitches, log lines and synopses. (Synopsiseses?) These emails encompass all my undeveloped story ideas. They are usually very brief and only serve as introductions to new material I may or may not develop someday. These emails can lie dormant for many months before I return to them but it’s vital to make sure I don’t forget.
You never know when a story idea will come back and inspire you.
THE GIGANTIC SCREENWRITING EMAIL
Every once in a while, I write an enormous email to myself that covers all three categories and truly summarizes my writing adventures. It’s my way of keeping track of my progress and making sure I’m constantly challenging myself.
I wrote one last week that included a few goals I’m hoping to reach soon. Now all that’s lacking is the passion and dedication to reach those goals.