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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, I worked really hard to get a writing assignment from a producer, but, now that I have finally have it, I feel like I canít even begin as I look at how much writing Iím going to have to do and it looks like Iíll never reach the end.  Do you have any advice?


This week's answer: 

To the Victor Goes the Screenplay

Yes, I do, Chevy.  You might want to rethink things before you ask for a writing job when you donít want to write.  Itís just a thought.

Most likely, your mind is playing a trick on you.  Youíre focused on the end instead of the next thing to do (which seems to be to start writing Ė unless youíve found a way to begin writing without starting writing). 

Hereís a good way to ďthink yourself back to sanityĒ:  Remind yourself that you donít have to write.  And you donít.  You could contact the producer at any time and tell him, ďI know youíre counting on me writing this screenplay, but, because I think it will take too much writing, Iíve decided not to.  Write it.  Thank you and, should you ever need someone to write another of your screenplays, feel free to call on me.Ē  You can do that. 

Or... you can choose to write the screenplay.  Now, donít worry right away about how thatís going to come about, but, rather, just make the choice.  Thatís the first step.  And donít write until you do make that choice.  Even if you feel like it and even find an urge to, donít let yourself start writing until youíve made the definite choice to write that screenplay.

(Instead of unconsciously stopping yourself from writing, now youíll be consciously stopping yourself from writing.  And this will bring you into a proactive instead of a reactive state of mind.)

Or... if you need even more of a nudge, act as though youíre another person and tell yourself that you canít write the screenplay.  This ďother personĒ is telling you that you donít have permission to write the screenplay, no matter how much you may want to.

Notice your reaction to that one.  Notice if what surfaces within you is a renewed urge to... write.  But, still donít let yourself work on that screenplay until youíve made the choice to write it.  And donít make that choice lightly.  Consider what youíre getting yourself into; be fully cognizant of the time and effort that will be involved.  Only say you fully choose to write the screenplay when you actually fully choose that.  And donít worry if days go by and youíre not writing as you quarrel with yourself, as you entertain conflicts within you regarding the writing of the screenplay.  Watch them all beg for your attention.  Just observe them.  You can even write about all those thoughts that come up about whether or not you want to write the screenplay (but donít put your writing in a screenplay format; that would be cheating). 

If you happen to come to a point where you find yourself really wanting to write the screenplay, then make the choice to do it.  And then do it.  And never look back.  Well, you might have to if you need to check something you wrote before where you are when you remember that I told you never to look back.  Then youíd have to look back.  But then look forward again and let the momentum build and build until you are an inexorable screenwriting power that knocks down anything in its way that would try to stop it from writing that screenplay.  Here the trumpets blare and fully move into the center of your screenwriting power, which is your inalienable right, finally victorious over all dark forces that have daunted your every step and tried to keep you from your glorious task!

Or you could just write the screenplay.  Whatever works.


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