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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 (often with a humorous eye) 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, sometimes screenwriting, rewriting, polishing, proofing, all get so tedious and boring.  Sometimes I never think it’ll end and I’ll never GET to the end.  Any advice?

Ginny from San Francisco


This week's answer: 

Ending the "Ending" Problem

I really want to answer you, Ginny, but it’s such a tedious process to just type and type and type, never knowing when I’m going to get to the end of this column.  Then there's the column proofing and column polishing processes, not to mention having to sign my name again for the umpteenth time.  (Have you ever wondered how big an "ump" is?  I ponder that question daily.  At least umpteen times a day.)

Actually, I think it’s thinking about the end of your screenplay that could be driving you bonkers.  The end will come on its own accord.  But, when you look for your end, it will ALWAYS elude you.  (If you think about that in another way and try it, you may feel like a dog chasing its tail.  I'm not recommending it; just mentioning it.)  It’s like driving to a place you’ve never been to and how long that can feel, when it feels like such a shorter time when you drive back the very same distance, which doesn’t mean read your screenplay backwards – unless, maybe, you’re trying to write another “Memento” and you want us all to hold our breaths until “FADE IN” instead of “FADE OUT.”  And if you were fully reading your screenplay backwards, the final word would be “NI EDAF,” which could be some ancient mantra from India or China or Egypt  that means “Don’t worry about the end.”

But, if you’re an “end worrier,” as many screenwriters are, you can always write the end of your screenplay so you can say, “I’m already at the end” to yourself and others who ask you, “How’s that screenplay coming?”  Your jubilant answer:   “I’m already at the end.”

Just don’t mention that you haven’t started it yet.

(Don't anybody write me until tomorrow, please.  I'm going to be chanting "NI EDAF" all day.)

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