Monday, May 28, 2007

Week One Addundum

A few things I forgot to mention:

1) Write your exercises in a notebook by hand, not into your computer. I won't go into all the various reasons why you need to do it this way, just do. If you don't have a notebook for the first day, hand write on something and transfer it into a notebook later (or staple or paperclip). A brand NEW notebook is best, one that you dedicate to this project alone. I use a giant hardback artist sketchbook because I like the freedom of unlined pages. For each of my scripts I have a notebook for exercises and a binder for anything else (such as research, typed and printed notes, outlines, etc).

2) Write in one colour and when you are done with all your exercises for the day, read what you've written. Take a different coloured pen and mark things that you like and/or make notes in the margins. Anything. Could be a name you just made up that you want to keep. Could be an idea on how to end the story. Could be an image you want to include. Could be something you want to explore further. I use black for the exercises and red for the notes and underlining simply because it stands out. When I think I've written something that will later become a scene in the script, I circle the whole paragraph in red and star it.

3) If you ever freeze up (usually cuz you switched from your gut back to your mind), simply repeat the opening start line. So if you started the exercise with "This is a story about..." write that and it will kickstart you again. If it doesn't, write anything! Keep a handy phrase that you jump into. I like to write "I'm so grateful that..." Just because I like feeling grateful.

4) Get yourself a timer for your writings. Don't depend upon a clock or watch (unless your watch has a nifty timer-alarm on it). You can get one from any kitchen store. I use the Pillsbury Doughboy Magnetic Digital Timer (Item #962), which has lasted me for years. When I say write for 5 minutes without stopping, I mean write for 5 minutes without stopping. But Danika, my hand hurts! Tough love, baby. Tough love.

5) Someone asked me what happens if you miss a day. My answer: you don't.


WinterRose said...

What, in your opinion (or in somebody else's), would you say is about the average amount of pages a person would write in an hour? I wrote for a while super early this morning (Stayed up all night! Bad, bad, bad!!) and got about 6 pages in.

Oh yeah, and what are your thoughts about Script Smart (

Later! =)

OpenChannel said...

I really don't think there is a such thing as an "average" because it varies so much from person to person and day to day.

In "On Writing" (a fabulous book by Stephen King even if you've never read a book of his in your life) he says he writes 10 pages per day on his novel (which, mind you, is a LOT). Sometimes it takes him a few hours, sometimes it takes him all day.

In comparison, my ex-housemate said if he gets 2 pages every morning, he is happy.

On a really good day, I can write 10 pages of screenplay or 5 pages of novel. But usually it's more like 4 screenplay and 2 novel.

When you're hot, your hot. And sometimes you just want to get the exercises over with because you feel clogged, which is often when the breakthrough comes.

I wouldn't worry about it. Just keep writing.

RE: Scriptsmart

I've never used it, so I can't say. On the plus side it's FREE, so it can't hurt to try it. On the negative side, it's Microsoft.

If you want, I can e-mail a portion of an old script of mine in which I have set up all the styles (do you know how to change styles within a Word Document?).

Again, Final Draft has become the industry standard. It's pricey, but worth it. And you can split it with a friend because they give you two key codes. I would never go back to using word now that I've used FD.

Anyone else?

Addie said...

What happens if you change your mind about what you're writing? I mean a completely different script. I started out thinking I wanted to write one story and then couldn't get into it and changed my mind. Should I just force myself to write the first one?