The Summer of Screenwriting: The Complete 20 Part Series

December 4, 2012 at 7:12 pm

The Summer of Screenwriting: The Complete 20 Part Series | Screenwriting Blog

20 ARTICLES.  1 SCREENPLAY

The Summer of Screenwriting

Screenwriting procrastination & the guilt that follows

I’m intimidated by the big scenes in my screenplay

The two scenes I came up with in an airport lounge

Getting stuck reading your screenplay before it’s finished

Screenwriting Mistakes: Small moments can have a big impact

When FADE OUT is just around the corner

The return to screenwriting: One Month Later

The soundtrack of my new screenplay

The language of my screenplay needs work

My screenplay lacks the all important little details

Have you ever cried writing a screenplay?

I’m not a screenwriting expert.  I just love to write screenplays

Tomorrow I finish the first draft of my screenplay

I finished my new feature length screenplay!

Who will read your screenplay first?

The screenplay is finished but my printer is broken

The first book I read after I finished my screenplay

What will I do with my screenplay now?

The Summer of Screenwriting: The Journey Ends

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The Summer of Screenwriting: The Journey Ends

The Summer of Screenwriting: The Journey Ends

November 28, 2012 at 8:08 am

The Summer of Screenwriting: The Journey Ends

OVERCOMING THE CHALLENGES YOU SET FOR YOURSELF

The Summer of Screenwriting ends with this post.  The journey is over.

It began as a simple challenge because I felt guilty.  I felt guilty about the lack of effort I put into my screenwriting.  I couldn’t find time to write.  I thought I had lost the passion.  It turns out, I was whining for no reason.  I hadn’t lost the passion at all.  I just let opportunities to write pass me by.

So I issued a challenge to myself.  Finish a screenplay before Summer’s end.  That gave me 3 months.  In order to leave myself with no excuses, I decided to put this blog on hold and really focus on writing something to be proud of.

The day I finished the first draft of my screenplay was one of my proudest moments.  Shut up, sit down & write screenplays.  That’s all I needed to do.  No more excuses.

Then I felt guilty for a different reason.  Why did I wait so long in the first place?  I’m thankful that I don’t currently write for anyone except myself.  (At this point.) There isn’t any pressure to sell it, impress a producer or score an agent.  I’m wasn’t thinking about those things.  I just wanted to prove to myself that I could do it.

This blog resumed on September 15 and since then, I’ve posted 19 articles detailing my summer of screenwriting.  This is number 20.  The final chapter but it is also my opportunity to issue a new challenge.

Finish a NEW feature length screenplay.

I won’t have to impose any deadlines this time.  I’ve learned my lesson.  I love to write screenplays and I’m still baffled that I let so much time go by without writing.  I feel so much better about myself when I’m creative.  I rediscovered my passion because I dared myself to do better.  I can’t guarantee my last screenplay is any good.  But I CAN guarantee my next screenplay will be better.

The next time you get stuck think about this: You have the complete freedom to travel anywhere your imagination will take you.  You can tell any story you want.  That’s inspiring!  Don’t let the pressure get to you.  Remember how much fun it is to write.  I forgot and I’ll regret the year I lost making excuses.

Never again.

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Stay tuned next week for The Complete Series.

The Summer of Screenwriting: The Journey Ends

What Will I Do With My New Screenplay Now?

November 14, 2012 at 9:46 am

What Will I Do With My New Screenplay Now?

Aug 9, 2012

I’ve had a copy of Strangers beside my bed for a few weeks now.  Every few mornings, I pick it up and skim through it.  I’ve completed my rewrites.  I’m happy with it.  It’s such a great feeling to finally finish a feature length screenplay.  Especially after challenging myself to finish it months ago.

Strangers represents around 6 months of development and writing.  But it also represents a big leap forward when it comes to confidence in my work.  I love the story.  It tackles themes that scare me and centers on stress and anxiety I’ve felt for a long time.

It’s done…

So what now?  What will I do with my screenplay now that it’s finished?

My first instinct was competitions but I’m still hesitant to put myself out there.  The whole point to this summer was to prove to myself that I could finish a script.  But that’s all I’ve got.  ONE script.  Or is it?  I’ve also got a seed for a tale I hope will be infinitely better than Strangers.

So my latest script will be on the bench for the foreseeable future.  At least until I finish another screenplay I can be proud of.  If Strangers is the best thing I’ve ever written than I have to challenge myself to top it.  I still have to get better.

I started developing a brand new script about a week ago.  My main character has a name and a brief history.  I’m getting to know the world I want to create.  I’m having fun.  Hopefully, this new project will be ready in the fall as I want a first draft by the end of 2012.

Then it’s my goal to put these two scripts side by side.  Can I write something better?  I want to answer the following question confidently:

“Have you got any other screenplays?”

Perhaps, I’m just delaying putting myself out there?  Perhaps…  I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to wondering if this script has what it takes to become a successful film.  It’s even more tempting knowing that some answers are easily attainable whether they are good or bad.  I just don’t think I’m ready for that yet.

Regardless, I set out to prove something to myself and I’ve done that.  Strangers is finished and I’m on to the next challenge.

The journey continues.

The Summer of Screenwriting: Looking Back

And so…  The Summer of Screenwriting series has come to an end.  What a journey it was.  It’s been 3 months since I officially completed the final draft of Strangers and I’m still proud.  But the sense of accomplishment stretches far beyond FADE OUT.  I laid down the gauntlet.  If I hadn’t taken time away from everything to focus solely on writing, I would still be struggling through my screenplay.

The summer of screenwriting taught me to prioritize.  That’s why I only post 2-3 articles a week on this blog.  It leaves me more time to write.  I’m still working on the same script I mentioned in the post.  It has transformed into an intense drama but also a touching romance and I can’t wait to finish it.

But I’m in no hurry.  I mentioned above that I wanted to have a first draft finished by the end of 2012.  That won’t happen.  This new project has been extremely difficult to develop and I’m not going to rush things.  Maybe I’ll be finished in the Spring.  Regardless, I’m excited about the journey.  I’m happy when I write.  I’m curious to find out what comes next for my screenplay and for myself.

I want to be a better writer.  Someday, I’ll look back on this little summer experiment as a turning point.  The moment when I decided to be a screenwriter again.

Mission Accomplished.

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The Screenplay Is Finished But My Printer Is Broken

November 7, 2012 at 10:06 am

The Screenplay Is Finished But My Printer Is Broken | Screenwriting Blog

July 31, 2012

Hot pages are erupting from my printer and my heart is racing.  I’m about to hold my brand new screenplay for the first time.  I can’t wait to flip through the pages.  I’m looking forward to reading it without sitting in front of a computer screen or holding up my iPad.

Halfway through, the printer spits out a blank page.  My heart skips a beat.   Thankfully, it’s a false alarm as page 49 is printed as planned.

Then…  My worst nightmare…  (At least from a screenwriting point of view.)  With 30 pages to go, the ink starts to fade.  My first print out isn’t perfect!?  Unacceptable!  Still, the pages are still readable.  With 10 pages left there is virtually nothing left.  The ink cartridge is living on borrowed time.  I’m starting to wonder if it’ll make it to page 1.

5 is readable.

4 requires mild straining.

3 will need several words penned in.

…  2…  Never made it.

And so my first print out was ruined.  I didn’t even get a full script.  103 out of 105 pages with 30 of them faded.  My celebration must wait.  I’ll be visiting a printing place first thing in the morning.

The Summer of Screenwriting: Looking Back

It took an extra week before I finally got to hold the script in my hands.  (Isn’t that a great feeling?) I finally sat down to read and found a typo on page 20.  But at least I got to punch holes in my work and slip a couple brass brads in them.  A feature length screenplay that I wrote.

The pinnacle of the screenwriter’s journey.

I have a new journey to complete now and I can’t wait for my printer to break down at the worst possible moment again.

I Finished My New Feature Length Screenplay!

November 7, 2012 at 9:58 am

I Finished My New Feature Length Screenplay!

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.

SCREENWRITING!!!

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!

The Summer of Screenwriting: Looking Back

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.

I Finished My New Feature Length Screenplay! | Screenwriting Blog