How many scripts do you work on at the same time?

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  • #16
    I used to work on two scripts at a time. My rational was that if I got blocked on one, I could switch over to the other for a relief (two different genre scripts worked best).

    Then, I started forcing myself through my blocks, focusing on one script at a time. At least until I got it through whatever current phase it's in - rewrite, polish, dialogue re-vamp, etc. I found that it helps with the consistency of tone and pacing.

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    • #17
      I'm a one at a time writer. Meaning, I complete a first draft - perhaps two or three major edits and then I shelve. Now I may come back to that script as feedback comes in, or the spirit moves me, (or somebody with clout asks). But I try and remain focused on one project at a time.

      Something I've learned to do which helps me to avoid the "oh crap that's a great new idea and I can't concentrate on the script I'm working on syndrome" is to keep a running sheet of spec ideas. Write them down, forget about them, continue on the task at hand. Now, the great thing about this is when I do finally finish a script - I've got a sheet of ideas to return to. Usually by the time I get back to those ideas, I can better evaluate whether or not it'll work as a complete film idea. Not to mention I don't forget anything. Even if it's just a vague plot or idea, I write it down. I was once given a piece of advice: When you're stressed, write a to-do list before you hit the sack to take the pressure off. The same is true about writing (for me). It helps me avoid being anxious about an idea, and avoid the "half focus" on the page in front of me.

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      • #18
        Never write more than one at a time, because I need to keep my head in the heads of the characters. But while writing one I may be doing a polish or light rewrite on something I already know by heart.

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        • #19
          Right now, I'm working on about 5 - and it sucks - for all the reasons you guys mention that you only work on one.

          But I'm unable to ignore my imagination - if something pops in my head for one particular script - I work on it.

          And boy is it a sloooooooooooooooow process. I just don't have the discipline or self-managerial skills to do it any other way.

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          • #20
            I like to concentrate fully on one at a time, but at the moment I'm working on my own project and also developing a script with a third party. I find it difficult to keep the the two projects seperated in my mind.

            I find breaking off from one or the other for a week or so helps, but I seem to spend a lot of procrastinating while getting into 'the right mood.'

            I'm enjoying the pressure, though, and it's great experience.

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            • #21
              OJ - why not taking a break to outline your new ideas rather than jumping between actual scritps? It'd be more efficient and it'd give your new ideas time to grow before you spend a few months writing the first draft of what might end up not being such a great idea after a little time passes. You might also find new twists and turns you didn't expect when you first wrote the idea down. I've found that most of my "aha" story ideas at first blush lose their bloom quickly once I've had time to reflect.

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              • #22
                OJ - why not taking a break to outline your new ideas rather than jumping between actual scripts? It'd be more efficient and it'd give your new ideas time to grow before you spend a few months writing the first draft of what might end up not being such a great idea after a little time passes. You might also find new twists and turns you didn't expect when you first wrote the idea down. I've found that most of my "aha" story ideas at first blush lose their bloom quickly once I've had time to reflect.
                That's exactly what I'm doing. Because I bounce around, it takes more time to get back to each script, rather than focusing on just one, allowing time to pas to reflect and look back at them with fresh eyes and developed objectivity. And much of what I do write when it first enters my brain is more or less an outline of a scene or sequence; it isn't polished and tightened at birth.

                It's just a matter of me not being able to ignore my imagination. If I've been working on one script for a while, but then get an idea that adds to another one - I'm not gonna ignore it.

                I'm a script whore. I'm unable to maintain a monogamous relationship with any of them.

                And I realize, if you want to push that metaphor further, that as a result I pay less attention to each script and therefore each script suffers, then that may very well be the case. But - like I said, I can't help it.

                Not that I think that is necessarily true, I can take as long as I want on a script to perfect it. Of course if I have deadline for a specific script, then that one will receive most of the attention.

                A parent may have 5 children, but it doesn't necessarily mean they'll love any of them any less.

                But this is just me. This thread addresses the fact that we are all different and there is no wrong or right way.

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                • #23
                  I write on just one at a time, and jot down notes on any ideas that come to me during writing that are obviously not for the present script.

                  -Sandy

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                  • #24
                    As an individual, I tend to write on one screenplay or one novel at a time. With my writing partner, however, we will probably give serious attention to our main project together but we also knock out outlines for possible future stories.

                    At the moment, we have one screenplay about half-finished and the probable next script roughly blocked out (without any pages of actual screenplay being committed yet to paper - or computer screen). And we've tossed a couple dozen ideas back and forth - some we see as partner projects, some as individual projects with the other writing partner acting only as sounding board.

                    Whatever works, works. I find that having a writing partner forces me to not procrastinate (aside from Life's emergencies that have a way of interfering) and to act with responsibility toward another person. It makes me be a grown-up.

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                    • #25
                      Never write more than one at a time, because I need to keep my head in the heads of the characters. But while writing one I may be doing a polish or light rewrite on something I already know by heart.
                      My approach exactly.

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                      • #26
                        Two stories in one head? No one can live at that speed! :eek

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                        • #27
                          Two stories in one head? No one can live at that speed!
                          For me, it's more a matter of staying organized. I may put my main mental focus on one story only, but the percolater is always bubbling and rather than spare the mental effort it would take to keep track of story ideas or "bits," I'll write it down and if my brain feels so inclined, knock out a loose outline or a little more definition to something.

                          If I didn't do that and my mind was not at ease knowing those bursts of inspiration are safe from fading into nothingness, then it would be a distraction to my current project (whatever that may be).

                          Yeah, more than one active story at a time inside one mind is kind of crazy - so I let the little buggers at least get born then tuck them safely away in their little incubators until I'm ready to put serious attention on one of them.

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                          • #28
                            Re: How Many Scripts?

                            I normally work on one at a time, but have several ideas popping up that I research briefly, then I let go before getting hooked and ending up having several unfinished scripts before me; this has infact happened to me in the past.

                            One thing I do these days, write 20 pages on a regular writing day, finish a first draft in about a week, start a second one, while rewriting and editing the first.

                            I just started prep on one of my scripts that I would also be directing, so my writing time has been greatly compromised for more practical filming time.

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                            • #29
                              Go to a website called Mind Tools for helpful tips.

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