Tuesday 11 October 2011

Don't get it right, get it written

Some advice for aspiring screenwriters:
The secret of screenwriting success is simply this: Don't get it right, get it written.  Art Arthur
So many people drop out after a few classes. Most people never finish a screenplay. I impress on my students to finish in the time allotted. There are a lot of perfectionists out there who kinda circle around and around and research and read books and study—and they never really finish screenplays. What I took away from my teachers was they made me finish scripts.  Kris Young, UCLA
Butch Cassidy
I don’t know what it means, a perfect story. I think you just wanna basically try to figure out the story, and stay in the story as long as you can and as closely as you can, and end it. I think when you start telling yourself, “I wanna write a perfect thing,” all you’re gonna do is castrate yourself, and get into deeper and deeper trouble. It’s hard to do anyway. It’s no fun going into your pit every day and trying to figure out how to get two or three or five pages. Some days you don’t do anything. Then if you have two crappy days in a row, you’re really in deep shit. You just wanna get it done, and you pray someone will like it.   – William Goldman
Toy Story 3
The first draft is nothing more than a starting point, so be wrong as fast as you can.  Andrew Stanton
Actually finishing it is what I’m gonna put in as step one. You may laugh at this, but it’s true. I have so many friends who have written two-thirds of a screenplay, and then re-written it for about three years. Finishing a screenplay is first of all truly difficult, and secondly really liberating. Even if it’s not perfect, even if you know you’re gonna have to go back into it, type to the end. You have to have a little closure.   Joss Whedon
Once you start writing your screenplay, the most important advice I can possibly give you is to keep going. Do not go back and make revisions under any circumstances. Once started, press on like there's a pack of wolves nipping at your ass.  William Froug


Kathy said...

This post really resonated with me. It seems to be a necessary step in the writing journey, to take a lot of time to finish that first story. Then when it's written, the big mistake is to think that it's good despite its flaws. There's no harm in this as long as the writer gets on with writing another story while seeking feedback on the first. Gradually the truth dawns that the feedback is not universally positive but this is not soul-destroying because the writer is already in the midst of a new work, is learning all the time and can acknowledge flaws consistent with his/her new skill level.

Anonymous said...

Loved this post. Whenever I sit down to write a first draft I have a serious talk with my Inner Editor and I tell her to go fuck herself. She gets pretty pissed off and has a hissy fit, but I prevail, thank God, or I would never finish even the first sentence. OCDRUS Anonymous.