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Screenwriting Help E-Mail (Previous)

Updated every Monday, one selected e-mail will be posted and answered here each week. With many years of experience in the film and television business, I look forward to providing answers to your questions about screenwriting or the entertainment industry in general.  Please send your e-mailed questions to: Script Advisor.  You may also wish to visit our Screenwriting Help E-Mails - The Archives.

This week's question: 

Sometimes it seems like there's so many scenes to write to make a good script and everything has to be connected just right and I get the feeling I'm never going to reach the end.  Do you have any advice, Dch?

Terry from Chicago

This week's Answer: 

Merrily We Write Along

Terry, if you're worried about reaching the end of the script, my advice is to, instead of starting with "FADE IN:", just start by typing "FADE OUT."  That should do the trick.  Actually, it can take quite a bit of effort and time to get a script "just right."  I know that "endless" feeling, which can suck the life right out of you and cause you to want to give up or stop trying as much or starting another script (and if you do that, you'll probably end up with that "endless" feeling again, which will make it worse because now you'll have two "endless" feelings, which is like starting with infinity and adding more infinity to it -- and that would be quite a lot of whatever is infinite).

Sooner or later, if you're going to be a prolific screenwriter you're going to have to learn how to deal with this "wall," this black hole of the script/time continuum, this screenplay signpost up ahead.  (Sorry.  I think I saw too many "Twilight Zones.")  What's called for when you come to the realization that there is a whole heck of a lot more work to do to get your screenplay right is a type of stamina, realizing that it's not always exhilarating to work on a screenplay, and that sometimes it's just a matter of doing the next thing, writing the next scene, reading the script again to make sure it makes sense on a certain level, or reading the script to make sure a certain character's emotional track works or something else that sounds very profound as if you know what you're doing.  Here's a hint:  many of don't.  Many of us are just making it up as we go along and hope nobody finds out.  Oops.  I gave away the greatest screenwriting secret known to man.  Or not known to man since it's a secret.  I'll say it again, but this is just between you, me, and whoever else has had the good fortune to stumble across this esoteric doctrine hidden in an innocent article.  (I don't like the name, "blog."  I think I could call it "barticle," though.)  And the secret once again and for all of your eyes only is...

we're all just making it up as we go along

And so are the agents.

And so are the managers.

And so are the producers.

And so are the studios.

And so are the critics.

And so... (am I)...

Now you can relax and just write your script until that "FADE OUT:" feels just right.  And everywhere between that and "FADE IN"...

just make it up as you go along.



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