Feature-length Screenplay in 10 Weeks
Yesterday, I got my 90+ page feature script submitted.
It was my first attempt to submit a full length script within 10 weeks at the program. (*Last quarter it was a 30-page First Act.)
I began to get the knack of the neck-breaking pace of the program. And to my surprise, I enjoyed it — looking back now. I can shout at the top of my lungs —
“I did it. My script may be shit, but I survived.”
What did we cover in the 10-week writing workshop?
- The first week was the pitch week. We shopped for instructors in hope of getting picked by one.
- The second week we came up with a treatment. (A treatment is a 2-page double-spaced story flow.)
- The third was the beat sheet (aka. Step Outline) that covers the three acts.
- From the fourth week and on, we attended workshops that critique 6–10 pages of 10 screenwriters.
I feel so much more confident after this whole nerve-wrecking quarter. I like “The show must go on” mentality. It is never finished, it can always improve.
Right after the submission, I began the “script exchange” with two of my screenwriting cohorts — Two guys. I have a better rapport with the guys in the program. In the artistic arena, I need reason to balance feeling. A nice girl in the program cried the other day, saying she was afraid of the future. I don’t know what just happened to her. And I don’t want to judge. But from her explanation, she was overwhelmed. I joked that I am the foreigner (native-born Chinese) writing in my second language. I am the definition of “Underdog.” How much worse can that be? I hoped that cheered her up.
I also realized why I prefer hanging out with the lads more. They are more focused on the work itself. They are more thick-skinned.
Writing needs that mentality. Focus on how to get better rather than how am I ever gonna be as good.
In a way, I now feel better about being a foreigner — not as an excuse, but leaving no room for excuses. I can do nothing but hone my craft. There is no “but.” I already start late and practise less than the native students. And I don’t intend to compare. It will damage my morale. But this is what I am invested in — Practise more, it will be show in the result. Whether I will win some awards? It’s not my current-stage concern.
At the beginning of this quarter, I thought I might be overwhelmed by the size of the task. So I took three classes instead of four. I could have done more.
For the Spring Quarter, I might take 2–3 writing classes (feature-90+pages, comedy spec-30 pages, sketch comedy), and then another class. Or just three writing classes.