How long of a break do you take between scripts?

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  • How long of a break do you take between scripts?

    After you're done one, how quickly do you go to the second?

    I've finished one (maybe a month ago) but in that time I continuously go back and take out and add (mostly take out), fix grammar, reword, etc. There always seems to be something that needs editing that you somehow missed the first 5 times.

    Anyways, I'd like to move on to the next but I feel too attached to the story and characters of this one that it feels difficult (and also agonizing) to move to a next world.

    I'm sure I'm not the one one.

  • #2
    Re: How long of a break do you take between scripts?

    My latest "break" has been going on for about 7 or 8 years now.
    STANDARD DISCLAIMER: I'm a wannabe, take whatever I write with a huge grain of salt.

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    • #3
      Re: How long of a break do you take between scripts?

      I am the same way. I've only got one completed script so far. I'm going to keep rewriting and polishing it until I can get it sold or optioned. That's probably when I'll feel comfortable enough to completely move on from it and officially start the next.

      I have others that I plan to write, so every time ideas or scenes for those get backed up in my head, I'll take notes or write scenes or dialogue. I create a folder for each story for purposes of organization and put the notes in them.

      It's probably not the most productive way to do it, but I want to know that I can write a great screenplay and work off of that style rather than write multiple average ones and have to redo them all.
      www.twitter.com/tedzarro

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      • #4
        Re: How long of a break do you take between scripts?

        From the time I started writing specs I tried to write two a year. Last original script spec I wrote was in 2011. I'm writing three now... one by myself and two others with different writing partners. My advice to anyone just starting out. Keep writing. Finish one and then move at once to a new one. Doesn't mean you have to start writing the actual script. Coming up with the idea. Any research you have to do. An outline, if you use those, but keep moving forward. Waiting for the first one to sell or option before writing the next one is writer suicide.
        Last edited by EdFury; 08-24-2013, 11:24 AM.

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        • #5
          Re: How long of a break do you take between scripts?

          Always have another project (or two) in another stage of development. You have a draft, now it's in rewrite. Start brainstorming another project. As you solve story problems there, you'll be able to go back to your draft with fresher eyes because you'll be further away from the characters. Then take that to draft, put it aside, and prepare for a massive rewrite on your first project while you brainstorm a third project. finish the rewrite of the first project, write the first draft of the third project, prep a new rewrite of the second project and brainstorm a fourth.

          maybe it takes you a month to outline, or two months to get your head around what the rewrite is. the point is you can take a break from other projects so you can come back fresher while still writing more.

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          • #6
            Re: How long of a break do you take between scripts?

            People have wanted me to take longer breaks between scripts. Really really really long breaks. But I'm a glutton for punishment.

            And what killertv said.

            By the way, and this may be a bit off-topic, but I like writing short stories, which sometimes makes it easier to get away from writing scripts. You can just "let go", and that may even help with something you might be struggling with, too.

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            • #7
              Re: How long of a break do you take between scripts?

              Originally posted by EdFury View Post
              From the time I started writing specs I tried to write two a year. Last original script spec I wrote was in 2011. I'm writing three now... one by myself and two others with different writing partners. My advice to anyone just starting out. Keep writing. Finish one and then move at once to a new one. Doesn't mean you have to start writing the actual script. Coming up with the idea. Any research you have to do. An outline, if you use those, but keep moving forward. Waiting for the first one to sell or option before writing the next one is writer suicide.
              Amen. Having an outline/treatment after writing a full script shows you're committed to the craft. So far, this year, I've written a feature, two shorts, three PSAs I did for free for an non-profit organization and currently starting up a pilot while a feature idea's brewing in my mind. I'm trying to be a future commodity to an agent. Everyone here should.
              "A screenwriter is much like being a fire hydrant with a bunch of dogs lined up around it.- -Frank Miller

              "A real writer doesn't just want to write; a real writer has to write." -Alan Moore

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              • #8
                Re: How long of a break do you take between scripts?

                Originally posted by Wise View Post
                After you're done one, how quickly do you go to the second?

                I've finished one (maybe a month ago) but in that time I continuously go back and take out and add (mostly take out), fix grammar, reword, etc. There always seems to be something that needs editing that you somehow missed the first 5 times.
                You're either done or you're not. And when you're done, start working on something else.

                At a certain point, you have to realize that you're just re-arranging deck chairs.


                Never rewrite without a plan. Yeah, sure, do a grammar and typo pass, or even two or three of them, but after that you're just changing it, not making it any better.

                Write it. Read it. Decide how to make it better. Rewrite it according to that plan. When you're no longer seeing ways to make it better that are substantive (eg, not just line tweaks) do one more typo and grammar pass and YOU. ARE. DONE.

                Move on. Write something else.

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                • #9
                  Re: How long of a break do you take between scripts?

                  Originally posted by Ronaldinho View Post
                  You're either done or you're not. And when you're done, start working on something else.

                  At a certain point, you have to realize that you're just re-arranging deck chairs.


                  Never rewrite without a plan. Yeah, sure, do a grammar and typo pass, or even two or three of them, but after that you're just changing it, not making it any better.

                  Write it. Read it. Decide how to make it better. Rewrite it according to that plan. When you're no longer seeing ways to make it better that are substantive (eg, not just line tweaks) do one more typo and grammar pass and YOU. ARE. DONE.

                  Move on. Write something else.
                  This is a little off topic here, but it's great to read your viewpoint on this--mostly because that's how I've always felt about the whole process.

                  When you're an amateur, knowing exactly when you're done or at least reaching the point of diminishing returns is a very difficult thing to learn. And then you see other people advising that you need to pour over something for a gazillion hours and do twenty rewrites before you even think of showing it to someone else, get feedback and then rewrite it some more.

                  I think it all depends on how you write. If you are a freewheeling throw it on the page in a frenzy type writer, you are probably going to need to do 3 or more rewrites to make that thing make sense. But if you are a planner/outliner (which I am) and spend lots and lots of time figuring out the beats of the story long before you type word one and then take your time and really think about each decision from your outline as you write (I like to sleep before writing a big scene), I just don't see the need to do massive rewrite after massive rewrite.

                  I always go back and punch things up (especially comedically) and then a couple more polishes, but I feel it's pretty much ready to go out and see what kind of reaction it gets at that point....then rewrite as necessary.

                  Back on topic, as far as taking a break, I always get a little depressed after a completed script and feel like I don't know what to do with myself. Sometimes I try to dive into the next project to self-medicate, but I usually don't really have the energy or time and I worry that there might be residual carryover from the previous script to the next one--like there might not be enough differentiation between characters from one script to the next, some of the jokes and timing might be too much alike, etc. So, I really just shoot for two completed feature scripts a year and a few shorts here and there.
                  On Twitter @DeadManSkipping

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                  • #10
                    Re: How long of a break do you take between scripts?

                    I'm new, so the disclaimer applies. I like to have one done with rewrites brewing and one that I'm outlying/writing. I just finished my third this year and I'm working on the outline/treatment for the next. This week I will review the 2nd one for rewriting, spell/error check the 3rd one, and hopefully have a rough outline of the next. We'll see how it goes.
                    SL35
                    Potent dreamer. Newb disclaimer.

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                    • #11
                      Re: How long of a break do you take between scripts?

                      Originally posted by Wise View Post
                      After you're done one, how quickly do you go to the second?

                      I've finished one (maybe a month ago) but in that time I continuously go back and take out and add (mostly take out), fix grammar, reword, etc. There always seems to be something that needs editing that you somehow missed the first 5 times.

                      Anyways, I'd like to move on to the next but I feel too attached to the story and characters of this one that it feels difficult (and also agonizing) to move to a next world.

                      I'm sure I'm not the one one.
                      When it's out for peer review, I start developing the next idea I want to write. When the notes come back, I'm excited about rewriting, but also excited about starting a new project.

                      I'm never not working on something, unless it's a time of great personal stress, like when my mother's illness got worse at the end of January and she died on March first. There were several months where it was simply impossible to write.

                      Start working on your next project and you'll find you're equally attached.
                      Good luck,
                      FA4
                      "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

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                      • #12
                        Re: How long of a break do you take between scripts?

                        I emailed a producer at 3:38pm to say "Hey, I just turned in [a different project]. Now I can work on our project tomorrow or Wed."

                        He replies back with "How about starting it tonight?"

                        So yeah...

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                        • #13
                          Re: How long of a break do you take between scripts?

                          Originally posted by Hamboogul View Post
                          I emailed a producer at 3:38pm to say "Hey, I just turned in [a different project]. Now I can work on our project tomorrow or Wed."

                          He replies back with "How about starting it tonight?"

                          So yeah...
                          He didn't have a smiley face after that comment?

                          Bold.

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                          • #14
                            Re: How long of a break do you take between scripts?

                            Originally posted by Hamboogul View Post
                            I emailed a producer at 3:38pm to say "Hey, I just turned in [a different project]. Now I can work on our project tomorrow or Wed."

                            He replies back with "How about starting it tonight?"

                            So yeah...
                            Exactly.
                            "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

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                            • #15
                              Re: How long of a break do you take between scripts?

                              Do you count negative days?

                              When I finally finish a script, I usually already have something written on the next project. Maybe just a scene or two. Or an outline.

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