Friday, May 25, 2007

Start to Finish preparation assignment #1

It's a beautiful day in Vancouver. I love spring.

On the Reading Pile: I've started reading Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, which is the precursor to The Secret and all other similar books and films. They've just started marketing the ideas better. Or perhaps the world wasn't ready for Hill in 1937, which is when he first published the book. I'm tickled reading it, though, because I keep thinking, "wow, all the newer books took all their ideas from Hill!" He did all the reasearch - 20 years of it. He even uses the exact phrase THE SECRET... only he says he's not going to give it a name, that the reader must deduce it. But all the concepts are basically the same. In any case, it's just more ammunition for me. And I'm sure he would be excited to know that his work inspired more books on the subject. A glut even! You can't swing a dead cat in this town without hitting someone who knows about the Law of Attraction. (my apologies to Victor and Albert)


Okay, so here's the NEXT BIG THANG you've all been waiting for. A brand spanking new screenplay from START to FINISH. We'll take it one day at a time, so don't panic.

Actually, it's not entirely from scratch on my part, because I've already done some work on the script I'm going to develop. But not enough that you can't catch up with me. I'll even do some of my exercises over again and review my work so that you can have the full on experience.

So, we begin on Monday because that's as good as any other day.

Are you ready for your first homefun assignment? Believe it or not, this is where many people get hung up. And I'm not just talking about writing. I'm talking about life in general. We are often paralyzed by ideas. We don't know which direction to go because truly the options are infinite.

Your first assignment is to PICK something to write about. Pick ONE thing and commit to it. Decide by Monday which idea you will use. Sure, you've got that musical horror idea, that romantic comedy about the bus drivers, or that golf western and you're equally fond of them all. But you must pick one.

I'll tell you a secret... come closer... after you follow one of your ideas to completion, the others will still be there waiting for you! Just plop them into your idea file and let them ferment for a while. If you get another idea (and yes, you will, and you'll think it's better than the one you're working on), thank the Muse, plop it into your idea file along with the others and tell them to play nice while you're away.

You must practice commitment and completion. We don't leave things 1/2 done around here. Those won't serve us. You can't do anything with 1/2 of a script, 1/2 of a novel, or 1/2 of a painting.

Your finished product may look nothing like you originally thought. That's creation for you. It will become what it becomes.

So the first assignment is due on Monday, as are a few other assignments. Awww, Danika, homework over the weekend?!? Now, now, quit your whining. I'm only giving you the tools you will need to start fresh and ready on Monday.

Tough love. Tough love.

P.S. Someone asked whether they could use this process to write a novel instead of a screenplay. I think the tools will definitely be helpful, so you are welcome to join us. Just don't expect the pace to be the same. There's no way anyone, not even Stephen King (who writes 10 pages per day on his novels) could finish a novel as fast as we are going to write our screenplay.


Anonymous said...

This is a great idea. I kind of need to kick start back into writing. But, I'm wondering how steep the time line is? My job is one of those 50+ hour a week jobs and I've got a husband who believes no weekend is complete without scuba diving with me (kinda sweet and I sort of agree) and of course there's this dog that keeps dropping her darn tennis ball in my lap every 30 I'm not sure I can manage more than nine pages a week. And that would take more focus than I've had in seven years! However, I'd be willing to commit to that.

Anyway, can you clarify how rapidly you plan to move so I can assess whether or not I'm up for it?

Also, am I to understand that the only thing due by Monday is a committment to an idea?

Also, I've never participated in a blog before so are we posting what we write or just checking in?

Roseywinter said...

I'm up for it! :3 My screenwriting skills are very sub-par, probably... but I'm up for it! lol. So... the only thing due Monday is an idea? Oh yeah, and Jackie had a good question about whether or not we're just posting or checking in.

Thanks for the official invite! This sounds like fuuuun~~

I still haven't heard the official word on Yogurt, but I hope she joins, too! hehe. Truly, it took me a while to get the "dairy enhanced" comment... :P

Danika Dinsmore said...

Hi Jackie!

Here's the thing, the exercises won't be taken down, so truly, you can go at whatever pace you want. I think it's just more fun if we're all together.

It's the commitment to finish that matters. If you can commit to 9 pages per week, that's great. I was thinking about 10-12 myself, which I think is totally doable, but still a pretty good clip. (so, okay, perhaps King could keep up). So say you finish a week or two later than I do, you still win, right?

I don't think there's a way to post the work that won't make the formatting wonky, at least blogger's basic program doesn't have a way to do so. So this is just checking in and support to keep on keepin' on.

At the end, however, if anyone wants to swap scripts for critique, I'm all for it.

For Monday it is the commitment to an idea as well as a commitment to the time. I'll post more on that.

And if my husband wanted to take me scuba diving every weekend, I'd go, too. Although not in these waters... brrrrr.

Anonymous said...

A friend sent me your invitation. I have never written a screenplay before but I have an idea and would like to try. I am a college student but not studying filmmaking. I actually am working on my degree in psychology but I like to write on the side and think my degree will help somehow.

Danika Dinsmore said...


Absolutely! As I stated in Ex. #2, it's about focus and commitment, not about your writing experience.

I'll post a great resource for screenplay format in case you are unfamiliar with it.

If you do wind up loving the art and craft of screenwriting, I highly suggest purchasing a copy of Final Draft. It makes the whole process a lot easier. It's a script formatting software and pretty much the industry standard now.

Cheers and welcome aboard!

Anonymous said...

I am just starting today with a new idea for a script. Thanks for doing this.