I’ve Written a Screenplay

Or, more accurately, I’ve written the first draft of a screenplay. Quite timely I think, considering yesterday’s post. I will now sit back and await fame and fortune.

It’s quite a feat for me – 71 pages (or, an hour and 11 minutes). I feel exhausted, mentally drained. It’s awful – I lost the ability to write coherently, the description is clunky and overly complicated. And it’s too short, the relationships between the characters don’t quite work.

But the good news is, I’VE WRITTEN A SCREENPLAY. Now, I am no longer one of those people who says they’re going to write a screenplay but doesn’t. I have! It’s a rough draft, but it’s a screenplay with FADE IN: and FADE OUT: and a whole bunch of stuff happening in between.

Right now, I’m resting – collecting my thoughts and energies before going back and starting the re-writing process. What this means is I’m reading a lot of How to Screenplay books and articles to see what I should be doing (or should have done). If I’m not careful, this will be all I do for the rest of the year.

This interview with po-faced John Truby is very useful, apart from when he says that your first draft is like concrete and practically unchangeable. Yeah, thanks John. My screenwriting brain is young and underdeveloped. Most of the problems with my screenplay stem from the fact that I didn’t know things wouldn’t work until I’d written them down.

The good news is, I really like my dialogue. I feel I can say, “Yeah, I’ve always been comfortable writing dialogue.” This probably means my dialogue is awful.

To be sure, I’ll keep you posted on the slow progress of My First Screenplay, you lucky lucky people.

Oh, and any of you readers: What are your experiences writing screenplays?! Any advice? Any war stories (about screenwriting, I mean)? Leave a comment!

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8 responses to “I’ve Written a Screenplay

  1. Foxolio, Like you, I just finished the first draft of my first screenplay. My challenge is somewhat opposite. I began in December, 2012 and finished in February, 2014. I have 176 pages. Things in the story do seem to add up and work, but it took that many pages to make them work. As I’ve begun the rewrites, rather than cutting, it seems I need to add material to tighten the story and fill in a gap or two. I’ve decided to do whatever it takes, page count be damned. I have come across competitions that accept scripts up to 160 pages. We’ll just have to start our own.

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    • “Submissions can be any length you want” – I like that. I feel compelled to offer you advice, seeing as all the stuff I read about screenwriting that I remember is “bla bla cut this scene, bla bla is this necessary.” But I shan’t, because that would be rude. I commend your screenwriting endeavours – 176 pages is amazing! I guess that’s all we can do, keep on at it!

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      • OK – I mean I love giving out advice to things I don’t really know! I always read that there’s the possibility that you’re repeating various story beats throughout the script. That might enable you to cut quite a few scenes. OR – you’re writing a script meant for later on in your career, where you can hand in 180 pages. If so, then you can keep writing as much as you want! There…I feel better now. Thank you! (My problem is the opposite – too few story beats, things are happening and resolved too quickly. Bleh)

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      • Thank-you for your time and thoughts. I’m new at this. I’m writing without the benefit of having taken screenwriting classes. I appreciate asked-for advice. I have a passion for what I’m doing now with my life. I want to do it right, by the rules. Before I submit to professional criticism, I want to have something of substance to show. At the very least, I would like to be able to use this first attempt for admission into a reputable writing program. If not that, then as a resume. I’m willing to make whatever changes I need to eventually advance in this chosen profession. Keep in touch. Let me know about your progress. This exchange has been a step in the right direction.

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      • I will certainly keep in touch, and I wish you all the best with your script! I think the best way to learn IS to write and see what you’ve written. You sound like you’re in the right frame of mind, and I like to think that helps a lot!

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