Posts tagged ‘creative process’

September 18, 2013

The Un-Rules of Screenwriting: What We’ve Learned So Far

E.B. White wrote that there are “no inflexible rules by which the young writer may steer his course. He will often find himself steering by stars that are disturbingly in motion.” With this in mind, we’ve asked working screenwriters to share a list of the “un-rules” that they find most helpful in their writing careers.

Every week we’ve been posting wonderful lists of “un-rules” from successful screenwriters working in the industry today. These un-rules, or “principles” as Robert McKee would call them, are the guiding ideas that each of these writers find most important to their creative process.

Today, I want to take a step back and look at what we’ve learned. Below are the rules that I have found most insightful, practical, and helpful thus far:

  1. Respect the craft of screenwriting. This includes mastering format and becoming an excellent storyteller. There is no easy way to success. If you believe that your first script will make your career, you will be humbled when you learn that your craft is bigger than you’ll ever be. (Mark Sanderson)

  2. If you can’t pitch your idea in a sentence, toss it in the garbage. There’s a very good chance the person who has the power to buy your script will never read it.  They will simply ask the exec underneath them (that did read it), “What’s it about?” (Joe Gazzam)

  3. Don’t be afraid to extensively outline.  Get examples of outlines where you can.  Outline your favorite movies and favorite screenplays to teach yourself about structure. (Kirsten Smith)

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July 6, 2011

Finding Your Screenwriting Process

Everyone has different writing habits. For me, the hardest part is getting myself to start writing — usually if I can get a sentence down, I can write ten pages. The trick is finding the will power to write that first sentence. Here’s an article from ScreenwritingU to help you master your creative process:

Part of being a great screenwriter is finding your   optimal creative process — the set of rituals that will have your  creativity  blossom and your life be happy at the same time.

Can you imagine that?

As you write each screenplay, you can start identifying  what works    for you and what doesn’t.   Many times, just recognizing a negative         pattern will change it or recognizing a positive pattern  will assist you to make it a habit.

Over the years, I’ve noticed a specific pattern that disables a writer’s creative process and often causes “writer’s block.”

See if this feels familiar.

A writer will torture themselves on a first  draft,  rewriting lines over and over again, trying to make sure it is  perfect — but much of that perfection is on the surface; the words.   They’ll spend three or four drafts editing the script to get that “perfect feel.”   But often, the script has problems with structure or plot holes or main characters that need work.  By the sixth draft (or 10th or whatever), they tire  of the process, do a polish and  send the script into a contest or producer —  knowing there are problems.

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