This week's Answer:
Screenwriters Finish Last
Carylyle, I know how the last stage
of writing a screenplay can be extremely tedious,
time-consuming, frustrating, overwhelming, and just not a
heck of a lot of fun.
You want to get it just right.
And that “just right” often seems to elude you
just when you need it the most, when you want to finish
your screenplay and send it off to parts (or producers)
unknown before you lose your temper completely, and
methodically and carefully print every page of what you
have and promptly tear it into tiny
pieces, wearing a sardonic (and scary) smile, with
a faraway and vacant look in your eyes, thinking to
yourself (or muttering the words), “Now it’s ready.”
The following may help you
considerably (or send you into a deeper part of
“I Can’t Finish My Screenplay” Hell):
Can’t Make Your Screenplay Be Finished
Can’t Finish Your Screenplay Just Because A Producer
Says He Wants to Read It Now
Trying To Finish Your Screenplay And Let It Finish Itself!
If I’ve completely confused you (or
caused you to start using the Internet to find my address
so you can drive by and “TP” my front yard with
hundreds of pages of your ripped up screenplay), then
I’ve done my job. I’ll
try to say it another way:
The problem that has been cited (Thank you,
Carlyle) is only there because the screenwriter is forcing
and not allowing. Allowing.
That’s much difference than forcing.
The same part of you that concocted this mad
creation known as your screenplay also knows how to finish
you notice how your screenplay began to seem to have a
life of its own, began to tell you what it was, who the
characters were and what they wanted?
Didn’t the story drive itself at times?
(There's a recent
movement that proposes screenplays be allowed to have
their own driver's licenses. I'm voting
"Yes" on that proposition. ) What if you
trusted that same “story’s wisdom” knew how to
finish itself? Can
you imagine how easy it would be then to just be present
with it until it showed you?
“But what about the deadlines and
the producers waiting for the script?” you ask.
“How can I just let the screenplay finish itself
when everybody wants it yesterday?” You or somebody else
who isn't you asks. It’s
are deadlines. Cameras
have to roll. Distributors
have to have their reels.
Actors have to be paid.
Caterers have to order their donuts.
But, still, you are the center of your universe.
(I think. Lately,
there’s a new quantum physics theory that you big toe is
the center of your universe. But that’s close.) You are the one through which this
original concept came
it’s a remake or a sequel or a prequel or based on a
television show or comic strip) and you are the one who
will know when your screenplay is finished.
And producers will always be pushing
screenwriters to hurry up.
And, often – and VERY often -- after perspiration
has been perspired and the hair pulled out and
nerves jangled to their very limit, the screenplay is
submitted by the “deadline,” followed by a lovely,
long period of waiting while wondering “Why did I almost
kill myself to get it in, when I haven’t heard anything
back from the producer in weeks?”
“Or months?” Good point.
It’s called the “Hurry Up and Wait” syndrome.
Aladdin had to polish or rub
the lamp to get the genie to come out.
The word, “genie” is associated with the word,
does that tell us?
doesn’t take a genius to know when a lamp needs more
Or something like that.