July 12, 2012
YOU DON’T FINISH THE FIRST DRAFT OF A NEW SCREENPLAY EVERYDAY.
Today is a good day.
On May 29th, I published this post. It was about putting this blog on hold for a little over three months. I wanted to finish my newest screenplay and hopefully develop another. It’s been 45 days.
I finished my screenplay!
What an incredible feeling it is to type FADE OUT and smile. Obviously my work is far from over as it’s just a first draft but it’s important to appreciate the moment. I write a lot about ‘moments’ in movies and I feel like my new script has some great ones. I’m proud of what I accomplished today. Not just because I finished a screenplay but because I decided to focus and challenged myself.
Had I not taken a step back and reorganized my priorities, I could very well still be sitting on page 11. It feels a lot better now that I’ve pounded out 105 pages. Today, my little experiment was a success. I still care deeply about screenplays.
WAS MY PASSION FOR SCREENWRITING LOST?
I ask that question because I feel like I could have accomplished so much more if I had focused years ago. It feels so amazing to finish something new and unique. So why didn’t I write more? Why didn’t I write!?
Today represents a big leap forward for me. I doubted myself. I was beginning to question my passion. I debated the difference between the love I have for the craft and the dedication needed to finish a new script. I’ve learned there is a big difference between writing about screenplays and WRITING screenplays. Who was I kidding?
I’ve earned the write to call myself a screenwriter again. However, this new found enthusiasm can only live if I continue feeding it with new ideas. I just reignited my passion and now I have to keep the fire going. That’s my new mission. I’ve proved to myself that I can write a feature length script if I commit 100%.
Now I have to prove that I can continue exploring new ideas. When I wrote about taking a break from blogging, I mentioned very clear goals. I wanted to finish a script and develop a new one before September 15th, 2012. I’ve finished the first draft. My list of rewrite notes is lengthy but manageable. I should have a draft worth passing along to close family and friends within a few weeks.
Beyond that, I already know the next story I want to tell. The seeds been planted and I feel like I’ve challenged myself again. My new script is infinitely more complex than the one I just finished. I’ve created a main character that has a long road to travel before redemption is attained. Now it’s up to me to develop something worth while. Something I care about.
- Long ago, I wrote a screenplay about a high school basketball star struggling to decide what to do with his life.
- Last year, I finished a screenplay about three college roommates who stand on the brink of adulthood.
- My new script is all about dealing with stress and anxiety as an adult.
Next up, I plan to write about responsibility and courage. A drama that mirrors my own journey with a wedding around the corner. (Actually, I suppose by the time you read this, I’ll be married!) But I don’t want to think too much about my next project when there is still work to do. I’ve got a second draft to tackle tomorrow! A second draft of a screenplay I’ve decided to call: Strangers
HAVE YOU QUESTIONED YOUR SCREENWRITING?
I’ve never claimed to be an expert when it comes to screenwriting. I can only talk about my own adventures between FADE IN and FADE OUT. But if there is anything I’ve learned over the last year it’s this:
You only get out of screenwriting what you put into.
It sounds corny and horrifically obvious but a story isn’t told until you tell it. Write it down! Challenge yourself.
Today, I feel like a giant weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I can breathe again. I don’t doubt myself anymore. To think, all I had to do was sit down, shut up and write screenplays. It’s a simple lesson but I’m happy to report that I’m a screenwriter again because I made a choice.
WHAT ABOUT THE BLOG?
All these screenwriting lessons have led to an inevitable question:
If putting the blog on hold led to so many breakthroughs, what will happen in September when I start posting again?
First of all, the blog isn’t going anywhere but I am going to make some changes. (Again, these will all be announced by the time you read this.) When I created The Athletic Nerd, I posted 7 days a week. In year two I gave myself Saturdays off. Towards the end of year three I began posting Monday-Thursday only.
I love movies, screenwriting and independent film. I can’t wait to start posting new articles again. I’m looking forward to featuring more of your work in the next evolution of THE POST. But I owe it to myself to keep writing screenplays as well. When the blog returns, I’ll be writing three posts a week. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. That’s just a minimum. I’ll probably still have week’s with 5 or more posts but I won’t feel like I HAVE to come up with that much original content.
I’ll save the rest of the announcements for a separate post.
Back to the new screenplay! I’m done! I finished it!
There’s nothing better than setting a goal and reaching it! The only thing left to do is set more ambitious goals and work my ass off.
Thanks for reading!
Well, that day was nearly 4 months ago now and the passion is still there. The blog has been back since September 15th and October traffic nearly tripled the numbers I got in August. Posting 3 days a week instead of 6 gave me a lot more free time to develop my new screenplay and I finally started writing pages. It’s a little later than I had hoped but those first 10 pages are always exciting to tackle early on.
Interestingly enough, I’ve also lined up the script I want to write AFTER I finish my latest. I’ve decided 4 straight dramas is quite enough and I’m going to attempt a horror film next. Until then, I can’t wait for another day like July 12, 2012. The day I typed FADE OUT and completed a project I’m extremely proud of.
That was a good day.