The Shittiest Screenplay of Them All, Days 7-11
This is the 4th blog post in my screenwriting series, it all started here
Day 7- 6:30am
I woke up thinking I was behind a day in my writing. My house guests left yesterday morning for the airport, but I decided to go skiing and watch movies all day, so no writing for me. I did a little happy dance this morning when I discovered that in my Master Graph Schedule Thingy I had not scheduled any writing yesterday. Yippeeeee!
I finally finish the scene I have been working on, it’s a hard one. I have to get into the emotion of a big fight between my main characters and dredge up some empty, hopeless feelings that don’t make me feel very good. I avoid writing the next scene, which is also depressing, by cruising Ed Burns website to see what he’s up to lately. He’s one of my filmmaking heroes and I heard his latest movie, Newlyweds was just released. I search on iTunes & Netflix but it’s not there yet. I go to his twitter page and he says to watch it on Movies on Demand. I try to find it on my Direct TV listings but it’s not there either. I spend at least an hour trying to find it on AppleTV. I am unsuccessful. I should probably go back to writing.
Only 300 more words to make my word count today. Hot cup of mocha in hand, I’m back in front of the screenplay. Here we go.
After a few moments of staring blankly at the screen, an epiphany strikes. I realize I can pay and schedule Newlyweds from my laptop for download to my television, which I do immediately. I ‘pretend’ to write as I wait for Newlyweds to show up on my DVR. 5 minutes pass, no movie. 30 minutes pass, still no movie. I spend a good part of the morning on the phone with Direct TV trying to figure out why Newlyweds isn’t downloading to my television.
Doesn’t this nice lady on the phone know that I desperately need to watch this movie in order to fulfill my greatest filmmaking dreams?! No, she just keeps typing things into her computer as I continue to hold.
I decide to attempt writing some dialog while listening to the on-hold music. Incredibly, as the customer service rep is running through her 3rd or 4th test (I’ve lost track at this point), I do a quick word count and discover that I have managed to hit 6,363 words! Whoo-hoo! My word count for today is in the bag. She tells me to give it 24 hours for the movie to download and call back for a refund if it’s still not there.
Pretty damn impressive that I could meet my daily word count while sitting on hold with Direct TV, right? I mean, granted, these words are probably not brilliant and amazing like Woody Allen, Ed Burns or Cameron Crowe’s, but at least my word count is climbing and I am one day closer to my goal of finishing my first screenplay before we leave for Sundance. right? It’s all good.
Day 8 - Word count = 7,333
This morning my husband asks me how the screenplay is going. I tell him I am on schedule and it’s going good.
He asks, “How is it coming out?”
I tell him to shut up.
I say that I have absolutely no idea “how it’s coming out”, I can’t think about these things now. I can’t think about whether it’s “good” or not. I can only write the allotted amount of words each day. I can only keep my butt in the chair until said word count reads at least the minimum words written on my schedule for that day. This is the only possible way I can write this screenplay. I absolutely can NOT allow myself to think about whether it is any good or not, yet. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s all shit.
I’m pretty sure that I’m writing the shittiest screenplay ever written in the history of the Universe.
But I tell myself;
“At least you will be able to say that you finished your screenplay. It doesn’t have to be any good, it just has to be finished. You can go back and make it “good” later. You can hire an editor or send it off to one of those script doctors.”
Oh lord, just the thought of sending this shitty, stinking screenplay off to someone who does this professionally is terrifying. It’s enough to make me stop writing and throw my lap top in the nearest garbage. See how my mind works? I cannot let my Virgo-Perfectionist-Self think about the quality of the writing. Yet. There will be plenty of time for that, later. Now, just put your butt in the chair, Sandy. Just type the damn words.
Day 11- Word count = 10,417
That’s 517 more words than my schedule says I should have written.
I’ve found that the best way to make good progress each day, is to write first thing when I get up. Sometimes I can get some writing done before I have to wake up my daughter for school at 6am, other times I write immediately after I drop her off at the bus stop at 7:30am.
Now, this means that I have totally shifted my priorities around. I haven’t been working out at all. I was on a very dedicated morning schedule preparing my healthy, green smoothie each morning and then straight to my workout. But when I decided to finish this screenplay before I leave for Sundance, the screenplay became more important than the working out. That’s always been my problem, I’m much more productive in the morning so if I need to get something done, I do it first thing because after lunch ~ all bets are off. Anything could happen to throw my day off track – kids, husband, dogs, emails, in-laws. If I want it done, it’s got to happen first thing. This is great for that first priority thing, but what about the other stuff? I can only do ONE thing, first. Is it possible to write a screenplay, workout, eat healthy, juggle your family schedules and any other writing commitments, etc, etc.??? Here’s what Leo Babauta, of Zen Habits says about Achieving Your Dreams Despite Pressures of Work & Family.
Is it possible to do everything you want to do and do it all well?
I can’t answer that yet. Right now, I guess I’m just going to have to live with a flabby ass in the name of getting this friggin’ screenplay done. I will work out while they’re filming the movie so that I’ll look hot for the red carpet.
NEXT: Shitty First Drafts & The Hierarchy of Goals - Click here*