Habits of successful screenwriters you've witnessed first hand

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  • Habits of successful screenwriters you've witnessed first hand

    i once chatted up a dude who wrote Wedding Crashers at a local coffee shop. He was a regular. He would pull out his laptop from his bag, open final draft and literally start typing within ten seconds. I've never seen anything like that. He said he averaged ten pages a day. I'm lucky if I get a page a day so that number stuck with me. It usually takes me an hour just to get in the zone and get a word or two down. Then slowly by the third hour I'm getting something down. His efficiency really blew my mind. I've also seen a few working TV writers move their fingers nonstop for hours.

  • #2
    Re: Habits of successful screenwriters you've witnessed first hand

    I don't average 10 a day, more like 5 a day. But I can tell you what I did to increase my page count and it takes off the pressure. I'll write exactly on the nose, precisely what my intent is for the scene, the dialog, etc. I execute what's in my outline, get that down. Then I go back, rewrite it and adjust accordingly, add the nuance, the reversals, and make sure it's interesting. Once I deliver the intent of the scene, and the clarity is there, I can get in the zone much quicker.

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    • #3
      Re: Habits of successful screenwriters you've witnessed first hand

      5 is pretty good.. i get anxiety. It has nothing to do with screenwriting. Once I'm able to focus on what's actually on the screen in front of me I'm fine. Perfectionism is probably to blame. Unfortunately I'm one of those writers on a mission to finish a masterpiece ( not start one, that's easy ).. Your strategy sounds cool, thanks @madworld.

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      • #4
        Re: Habits of successful screenwriters you've witnessed first hand

        Originally posted by Mustardeer View Post
        5 is pretty good.. i get anxiety.
        You know, there's a perscription for that. Any of the doctors with billboards around town can get that for you, and the compassionate collectives can fill it.

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        • #5
          Re: Habits of successful screenwriters you've witnessed first hand

          Originally posted by Mustardeer View Post
          i once chatted up a dude who wrote Wedding Crashers at a local coffee shop. He was a regular. He would pull out his laptop from his bag, open final draft and literally start typing within ten seconds. I've never seen anything like that. He said he averaged ten pages a day. I'm lucky if I get a page a day so that number stuck with me. It usually takes me an hour just to get in the zone and get a word or two down. Then slowly by the third hour I'm getting something down. His efficiency really blew my mind. I've also seen a few working TV writers move their fingers nonstop for hours.
          Are you starting with an outline or treatment? I'm far from being pro, but if I'm following a guideline, I almost can't stop sometimes.

          SL35
          SL35
          Potent dreamer. Newb disclaimer.

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          • #6
            Re: Habits of successful screenwriters you've witnessed first hand

            Originally posted by Silverlynx35 View Post
            Are you starting with an outline or treatment? I'm far from being pro, but if I'm following a guideline, I almost can't stop sometimes.

            SL35
            That's how it usually is with me. If I have outlined the script, and done research, the first draft will just usually pour out of me.

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            • #7
              Re: Habits of successful screenwriters you've witnessed first hand

              You know, there's a perscription for that
              hahaha. It's tempting, but no thank you.

              I'm working on a third draft. This little indie is actually getting produced so the pressure is uncomfortable

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              • #8
                Re: Habits of successful screenwriters you've witnessed first hand

                Originally posted by Mustardeer View Post
                i once chatted up a dude who wrote Wedding Crashers at a local coffee shop. He was a regular. He would pull out his laptop from his bag, open final draft and literally start typing within ten seconds. I've never seen anything like that. He said he averaged ten pages a day. I'm lucky if I get a page a day so that number stuck with me. It usually takes me an hour just to get in the zone and get a word or two down. Then slowly by the third hour I'm getting something down. His efficiency really blew my mind. I've also seen a few working TV writers move their fingers nonstop for hours.
                You get there with practice. I can write anywhere, at any time, because I forced myself to. No matter what's going on in our lives, my writing partner and I continue to break stories, put together outlines, and churn out pages.

                I have more limitations with my day job, but I'm able to get 4-6 pages done on a lunch hour even with interruptions.
                Last edited by Susanlbridges; 10-19-2013, 07:42 PM. Reason: Mixing tenses. Blah!!
                writertypepeople.tumblr.com
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                • #9
                  Re: Habits of successful screenwriters you've witnessed first hand

                  They write.

                  They don't talk about it or think about it or dream about it, they *do it*.

                  Treat it like a job.

                  - Bill
                  Free Script Tips:
                  http://www.scriptsecrets.net

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                  • #10
                    Re: Habits of successful screenwriters you've witnessed first hand

                    Treat it like a job.
                    That is really good advice.

                    I wish I were better at following it.

                    "The fact that you have seen professionals write poorly is no reason for you to imitate them." - ComicBent.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Habits of successful screenwriters you've witnessed first hand

                      My routine is essentially that. Except I'll read the paper and eat breakfast for an hour before type-down. I write everyday without fail. Typically it's three to five pages, or two to three pages of a novel. As long as I write something. Anything.

                      The "treat it like a job" phrase is exceptional. It's definitely the mentality you need to come at it with.

                      What the three to five pages deal actually accumulates to every morning is 45 minutes to two hours. I never go over that.

                      I will read and edit my own scripts/other scripts sporadically through the day, but that's not what I consider the actual work. It's more like breathing, immersion.

                      I've only been at this current routine for four months now. But in that four months I've written three screenplays, finished a novel, and now only have 8,000 words left of a new novella I'm writing for digital release. **** builds up quick.
                      "...it is the thousandth forgetting of a dream dreamt a thousand times and forgotten a thousand times."
                      --Franz Kafka "Investigations Of A Dog"

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                      • #12
                        Re: Habits of successful screenwriters you've witnessed first hand

                        in four months I've written three screenplays, finished a novel, and now only have 8,000 words left of a new novella
                        wow.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Habits of successful screenwriters you've witnessed first hand

                          Originally posted by wcmartell View Post
                          They write.

                          They don't talk about it or think about it or dream about it, they *do it*.

                          Treat it like a job.

                          - Bill
                          True that. If you treat it like a job, it has more of a chance of actually becoming one.

                          And believe me, if you treat it like a job from the get go, when it does become a job and you have two rewrite jobs, one a shooting polish and one a page one, and they're both due within two weeks of each other and both are scheduled for production two months apart... that kind of discipline can come in handy.
                          Last edited by EdFury; 10-23-2013, 10:08 AM.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Habits of successful screenwriters you've witnessed first hand

                            most have a marketing brain. when considering an idea, they wonder who would want to see this and why. they don't have a sense of entitlement that everything they think and write should be written, sold or made.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Habits of successful screenwriters you've witnessed first hand

                              Originally posted by holly View Post
                              they don't have a sense of entitlement that everything they think and write should be written, sold or made.
                              I think this comes from getting beaten up enough. My biggest obstacle has been discerning when to stick to my instincts. Sometimes I'll get a *bad* note - from whoever - execs, a producer, other writers, etc - and in an effort to be amicable and stay in the game, I find myself incorporating stuff I know isn't working, instead of being that writer that commands, shows a point of view that is undeniable.

                              One thing I've come to realize these last few years is that the emperor has no clothes. No one, no matter how big, is a hundred percent right all of the time. I've been fortunate enough to develop a couple projects with some hi-caliber guys, and the studios just didn't get it. And then I didn't get it - like these dudes are where I want to be. How could the studio pass on this? And my effort to be amicable led to a project that didn't sell. So the tough thing is dealing with others too that have that sense of entitlement, and knowing when to push back. I think truly successful writers get this. They understand how to make the good notes sing, so that everyone forgets the bad ones.

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