Showing posts with label psychology of screenwriting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label psychology of screenwriting. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

The First Draft to Final Draft: Starting A Screenplay

The fear of writing a script is a mental game. Whether we want other people to view us as capable and worthy of this creative art, the most serious block is the criticism that comes along with our final draft and/or a produced film that enters the streaming and/or the box office market. We can get stuck waiting for the right time to write. We may wait for permission to engage. Your screenwriting dream depends on you taking action to complete script pages...

Truth is, the fear of actually doing screenwriting blocks most writers. If someone tells you, you have no talent, this feedback can break you. Similar to our characters, we can walk around juggling several weaknesses that introduce bad habits into our daily lives. Screenwriting can be as simple as setting a schedule to write your story. No matter the criticism of doing something with no guarantee to be optioned, we stay committed to the process like running a road race.

Commitment is what turns an aspiring screenwriter into a serious artist. Discipline keeps a screenwriter on track to complete their screenplay. Once we start a script, we can see a glimpse of our scenes connecting the dots to the overall story. Our first draft is just a first draft. It is not set in stone for the world to squash our talents, skills and storytelling abilities. Sure, we may not be as good as the best screenwriters in Hollywood. However, the best screenwriters are subjectively ranked based on personal preferences. Moreover, box office returns can help a screenwriter climb up the Hollywood ladder. The media, fans and critics share their personal opinions on who are the best writers in the film industry.

There is no such thing as the best screenwriter in Hollywood. Aaron Sorkin, James Cameron, George Lucas, Paul Shrader, Shane Black, Joe Eszterhas, Scott Frank and other famous screenwriters are one of the best at their writing craft. I am certain they have written past drafts that they viewed as mediocre work. We can become our worst critic, beating ourselves up for the work we have completed, or haven't even started yet.

Remember: You have to start your screenplay. Talking about how great your idea is and how your story will capture millions of people will keep you stuck in a fantasy. Those blank pages require hard work and consistent effort. This is the reason screenwriting groups can delay your journey.

Many people enjoy impressing people, as if they want strangers to be proud of them. They are missing something in life, so they require validation from people who they will never meet. It's sad how many dreams are lost to fear. What is much worse is living to please crowds of people who have no impact on your daily survival. The DJ, singer and sports mentality can fuel competition. If all we live for is to entertain crowds and our stardom has passed or never ever existed, we can enter some seriously dark moments.

Your life is your story structure. Think about all the events that had to take place before other moments could happen. When we are living in the moment, we get too caught up in our emotions that we don't see the blessings in disguise. We don't know that we are dodging bullets to save our future. All we can think about is the pain and suffering we are experiencing in real-time. Sometimes victim mentality gets the best of us. We don't take personal responsibility because this makes us look weak, unintelligent and/or a failure. Someone is always to blame, an excuse. mechanism to shift accountability and appear morally good. Get out of your head, or use what is in your head to start structuring your screenplay.

There is a beginning, middle and end to every scene. It doesn't matter if you start later in the story, this paradigm--beginning, middle and end--is the glue that holds your story together.

Please read the first draft of scripts to your favorite films. Yesterday, I read the first draft of The Pursuit of Happyness. I can honestly share that I didn’t like the original opening. The time machine character is different. There is no stockbroker meeting in the first few minutes of the story, instead Chris talks to a structural engineer. The film opens in Venice, California, where Chris and Linda are unsure about their future with an unborn Christopher swollen in the belly. Writing the first draft probably helped the screenwriter to brainstorm additional ideas. Our first draft is basically a rough draft.

Just remember your first draft may seem strange, bad, poor quality and everything else circulating in your critical mind.

Overthinking is a curse on our confidence. We can self-doubt so much that we will delay living our dream. We can put our dream out of fear that people will criticize us. Nothing happens in life if we don't formulate an action plan. If we get into the car and drive from the West Coast to the East Coast without a plan, our journey may be boring, uneventful and unpredictable. Our stories can begin with taking an unexpected road trip; however, we need a reason that leads up to this decision. Don't overthink your dream as if you need this to happen or else your life is a failure.

If we put our dream on a pedestal, we may imagine all the future possibilities of living this fantasy. The moment reality hits us and our dream is over, we can lose our identity. Instead of celebrating we are unique human beings, we will hang our heads low and feel like failures. You are more than just a screenwriter. You are more than just an artist. You are a human being choosing screenwriting as your future career. It is the dream life you want to live daily, creating the most compelling stories that entertain, teach and/or inspire others.

Read the first drafts to your favorite films. This will show you that even the best screenwriters are still learning with every new story. Be open minded to tell your story a number of different ways with a variety of techniques. We can turn typically boring scenes into electrifying stories through a multitude of actions, inactions and/or crisp dialogue. Nonverbal communication can represent your secret weapon.

The first drafts of professional screenplays that have already went through several revisions and are produced films are sometimes a mess. If we watched the film first, we know what worked and what failed to see the silver screen. Know what you want with your screenwriting career: Act on it right now.

Happy Screenwriting!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Writing is The Best Practice to Get Better: Overcome Writer's Block

Struggling to work on your screenplay(s)? Lack of motivation to write? There are many screenwriters who experience writer's block. Procrastination is a common problem in the writing world. Don't panic just yet. Don't fear the next word. Everything will work out nicely. Stay true to yourself to trust the writing process.

Why do we experience uncomfortable challenges to do screenwriting? Simple answer: Too many distractions. If we want to delve deeper into writer's block, we can point to confidence, fear and psychological setbacks. We are human beings. We must work to survive this life. We have a past. 

Never allow your mind to control your actions. If you do this, you will reflect back to the past to block yourself. You will self-doubt. You will not believe in yourself. You will find reasons to be unhappy. You will forget about the people who matter most. You will repeat bad habits. Our mind can be our worst enemy--it can stop us from achieving what we believe is possible. 

Writing is the best practice to get better. I didn't learn to write in college. During these educational moments, I did write a lot. However, daily responsibilities would distract me. I continued to push through these barriers, writing more and more to share my passion. I didn't learn to write better without choosing to write daily. Good or bad material, I wrote all of this to remain active. Truth is, we can become our worst critic. Don't judge your screenwriting during the writing process, just flush out all your creative ideas like a fast moving stream.    

My professional writing jobs prepared me to live my future screenwriting career. As a clinical content writer, I took some important lessons my program manager shared with me. He taught me an important lesson about deadlines. I never learned my lesson until I lost this great writing job over procrastination. The program manager made an example out of me. His solution after my big failure: I should be honest to review the project by spending a day on this process to determine how much time is required to complete it. Our word has a lot of weight. If we lack integrity, we will not gain and/or maintain trust. 

While writing academic content, I noticed the value of deadlines. To be truthfully honest, I made my fair share of deadline mistakes. As a result of these challenging moments, I experienced many financial setbacks. I lived a difficult life. For the most part, I needed these failures to help me become self-aware. I now take personal responsibility for my past actions. Nobody is to blame for me postponing my screenwriting goals. I am responsible. I know what I need to do to succeed.   

Admitting that we have problems can save us time. Blaming everyone for our dreams not coming true will delay us. Living with our problems will not advance our dreams. Being brave to confront our problems to resolve them show we want more in this life. Writer's block is like a friend zone. We have to be honest with what we want at the beginning. Our mind can block our passion. Our mind can reject the love we want to experience over unresolved issues. We must realize that we deserve success. 

Writing daily is the key to unlock your screenwriting dream. It is that simple. Breathe screenwriting daily: It is your oxygen to remain alive in a competitive space. Fear blocks most dreams. 

Don't fear the competition. Don't fear success. Don't fear criticism. Don't fear losing your privacy. Don't fear failure. Don't fear writing a bad script. Don't fear that you can actually become someone influential. All of this fear is unwanted pressure and stress; it does not belong in our daily life. We can only control our own actions. Everything above us is out of our hands. 

Lose the need for perfection. Nothing is perfect; everything is flawed. Understand that we can get better at screenwriting by giving extra effort. People who fight back after criticism lack confidence in their dream. Take serious actions to set a schedule. Set goals. Accomplish them. Stephen King writes 6 pages a day. He is consistent to deliver. He does not make his fans wait for his next great story. 

Writing is best done every day. Writer's block happens over distractions that block our mind. There are kinks, tangles and total blocks that restrict creative impulses from flowing in our brain. Unblock everything that is bothering you to realize your greatest potential as a screenwriter. 

Don't think about the next word. Keep writing no matter what, even if it feels totally uncomfortable. If we follow this writing system, we will find the words that we need to write a compelling screenplay. Let writer's block go. 

Happy screenwriting!