Screenwriting Weekly #8: Life Is Short
August 8, 2017
I want to share something with you that happened to me this week because it changed my mindset and view of the world.
I had a spot on my leg that refused to heal for a few weeks. I went to the doctor and he promptly said “That’s skin cancer.” Now, I’m afraid of dying. Health anxiety is one of my biggest problems, and it’ll keep me up at night if something is wrong. The moment he said “skin cancer” my heart sank and a fleeting moment of what I would leave behind if I were to die today crossed my mind. It was a terrible feeling.
Now, don’t worry, I had it checked out and turns out, it isn’t skin cancer. But for the past four days I’ve been considering my work ethic. My desire to write for a living, to have more produced, to leave something behind for my children. This train of thought led me to realize that I don’t write enough. I waste a lot of time doing trivial tasks or wasting them on something that doesn’t matter.
I bring this up for two reasons. The first is that I wear my emotions on my sleeve and tend to be up-front and open with personal things in my life. The other is to remind you, you could be stricken with a terminal illness tomorrow. Would you be happy with the way you spend your days if tomorrow you found out your life may end soon?
Not to be macabre, but take a moment to think about that for a moment. If the answer is yes, great! If the answer is no, what would you do different if you knew you didn’t have much time left?
Me? More writing, more family. Everything else is fluff.
Ty Leisher, Curator
If you prefer to see this in email format, read it on the web.
Just because you sell a script doesn’t mean it’s going to be made. Just because you sell it doesn’t mean you hit the jackpot either. Professional writers do this consistently. Assignments and rewrites are our bread and butter. If you can’t be consistent, you can’t be a professional writer.
ANALYSIS: THR 2017 Drama Showrunner Roundtable
A fascinating look at television writing from the people who run it. If you haven’t seen more of THR’s amazing roundtables, you really ought to check out their YouTube. Amazing stuff.
GUIDE: How to Find Your Theme
Personally, I let theme find the story rather than trying to force a theme into it. If something can naturally fall into the story and get a message across, that’s ideal. If you try to force your message into a story it’ll ring false.
I couldn’t agree more with this. I recently did fourteen rewrites on a script that is probably going to end up in a drawer… but it’s still practice. Hemingway said “The first draft of anything is shit” but I’d say the first five drafts of anything are garbage.
This series is really fantastic. Looking at a scene and reading the script that it was born from is a great way to learn how writers describe a scene, how an actor interprets the scene and how an editor finishes a scene.
- ANALYSIS: WATCH: How Not To Adapt A Movie
- ANALYSIS: Writing Wednesdays: Blind Spots
- ANALYSIS: A Deeper Look at DETROIT
- ANALYSIS: “5 Hollywood Meetings You Should Master and How to Do It”
- ANALYSIS: Asking What and Why: Story Begins with Defining Desire
- ANALYSIS: 4 Things That Should Never Go in a Spec Script
- ANALYSIS: Reader Question: Do characters “own” a scene?
- ANALYSIS: ‘Dunkirk’ Director Christopher Nolan Wanted to Shoot Movie Without Script
- ARTICLE: Behind the Lines with DR: Record Spec Script Sales — The Million Dollar View
- ARTICLE: Myth of the Overnight Success: Interview with Jackie Bledsoe
- ARTICLE: 5 Benefits to Constructing a Fictional Language
- ARTICLE: Amateur Friday — Let’s Be Famous
- ARTICLE: By Ken Levine: Now you can talk like a real sitcom writer!
- ARTICLE: ALTERNATE ROUTES: Smartphone Filmmaking for Screenwriters
- ARTICLE: 8 Free Go Into The Story eBooks
- ARTICLE: SELLING YOUR SCREENPLAY: Screenwriter Michael Lucker Talks About How He Broke Into The Business
- ARTICLE: By Ken Levine: “Oh wow! It’s in COLOR!”
- ARTICLE: The Bitter Script Reader: Reader emails and the art of writing a good question
- ARTICLE: Mark Duplass’ 9 Secrets to Launching a Career in Indie Film
- GUIDE: Temporary and Permanent Phrasal Adjectives
- GUIDE: How to Stop Feeling Intimidated by Other Writers
- GUIDE: What It Takes: What’s the Big Idea?
- GUIDE: 3 Cases of Improving Writing Through Combination
- NEWS: DreamWorks Animation, Blumhouse Team For Animated Pic ‘Spooky Jack’
- NEWS: Zero Draft Thirty 2017 Autumn Challenge: Coming in September!
- NEWS: Broad Green Shuts Production Division: Mass Layoffs; Founders Regroup
- NEWS: ‘Star Wars: Episode IX’ Gets a New Writer
- PODCAST: On The Page: 517. The Positive Press Tour
- PODCAST: Scriptnotes, 312: The Magic Word Is In This Episode
READ OF THE WEEK
If you’d like to feature your script PM it to me with a logline and genre!
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