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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: 

DcH, I need to write a complete screenplay in about a week.  I have the general story, but I feel so overwhelmed by the job ahead.  Do you have any advice?

Jim T. from Seattle

This week's Answer: 

Avoiding The Big "O"

Jim, first, look at the bright side.  At least you don’t have to write an incomplete screenplay.  Those are harder to sell.  And, another plus is that you have the general story.  It always helps to have a story, either general or not so general.  Do you see how far ahead you are already?  You’re practically there.  All you have to now is write a few pages (like a hundred or more).  And a week is really a long time.  It can be a lifetime.  For a fly.  Here’s another idea.  Take the “b” from “job” and bring in a “y.”  What do you end up with?  yoj.  I mean, “joy.”  Change your thinking from your screenwriting being a joy to it being a oyj.  I mean, “joy.” 

To avoid the big “O” (“overwhelm.”  What were you thinking?), I find it’s always best to do everything you can to NOT be overwhelmed.  Deep, don’t ya think?  The best way to do that is to not force your ideas, your dialogue, your scenes, your structure, your theme, your anything, but, instead, let the storyline (we used to call it “the plot”), the images, the words, your character’s needs and limitations, your changing paces and tones, your everything, show itself to you.  When you’re anxious, pressured, worried, the tendency is to tense up, which causes your connection to your creative soul to be blocked, which doesn’t allow for those wonderful ideas to come through.  Actually, when you have a deadline, that’s the time to be the most relaxed.  When you relax, regardless of the closeness of a deadline, you’re telling yourself that you’re trusting “the process.” 

  When those teensy weensy guys and gals who run around in your subconscious and are the gate keepers to the doorways to your creativity get wind of how relaxed you are, they’ll all relax and feel very trusted and their self-esteem will soar and they’ll work hard for you and do all they can to show you their appreciation by making sure the very best ideas come to you for your screenplay.  I know this may sound a bit farfetched, but it’s all been scientifically proven.  How else do you think such great screenplays have been written?  Well, I’d like to write more, but I have a deadline, which is making me a little anxious.

And I haven’t heard from my little men and women all day.

 DcH                                                            related cartoon


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