How to Try to Write a Screenplay in 30 Days

Matt Hyams
Apr 14, 2016 · 4 min read

Over the years I’ve tried to write hundreds of screenplays. I have developed certain techniques that help the new writer start their own screenplay. Have an idea for a movie? Or a funny character you want to put into scenarios? Then you’re almost on your way to starting your own screenplay.

Day 1 — Day 3

You’ve got your idea for a movie and you’re ready to start. Where to begin? God only knows. Take a few days to fully absorb the journey you’re about to go on. There are so many people writing screenplays these days and the number keeps growing. Make sure your confidence is in tact before beginning or you’ll never get past Day 3. I recommend going out a lot these first three days and telling people you’re writing a screenplay. Gauge their reactions. If they say “You? Really?” maybe you’re not ready to start a screenplay. Starting these things isn’t easy and it helps to have people in your corner. On the flip side, if they say, “Awesome, can’t wait to read it” you’re doing great. After all, if they already think you’ve started then you’re that much closer to starting for real. And that’s just the kind of push you’re going to need on Day 4.

Day 4

I always tell my students that Day 4 is the most important day of the starting process. It typically makes or breaks the writer who can start a screenplay and the rest of the world who can’t even begin to start one. On Day 4 you’re going to open Final Draft and type this:

INT HOUSE MORNING

Now save that, name it, “My Screenplay,” and then I want you to masturbate. And I want you to take your time. Really explore your sexuality, dive into new areas. Test the limits. Realize your true nature. Once you’ve done that pour yourself a glass of wine and see what’s on TV. Maybe even watch a movie for structural research. Congrats! You’re a starter now!

Day 5 — Day 10

Yesterday, on Day 4, you started your screenplay! You’re a screenwriter now. I’m going to ask you to masturbate one more time before getting into the writing process, just so you don’t find yourself in the middle of writing a really terrific scene and need to stop at that point to masturbate. Better to get it out of the way ahead of time. Then let’s skip forward to Day 8. In case you’re wondering about days six and seven you’re in good company. We’re ALL wondering about them! (Don’t worry about em, they’re mostly filled with masturbation and eating cereal)

Now I want you to go back to the morning bedroom scene. Now, whoever you are, write yourself as the main character. I can’t stress that enough. There’s nothing harder than starting a screenplay when you have to invent a character and invent their entire life. How is anyone supposed to know what some fictional person does every day? In every one of the screenplays that I’ve started I am the main character. This removes so many obstacles for me. I know what I do every day, I don’t know what some fictional character does! You don’t have to start with the morning but I find, when just getting started to start, the morning is the best time, because that’s the start of the day. So, start by describing how you typically wake up in the morning. For instance, my morning bedroom scene would go something like this:

A naked MAN, 30s, awakens on the floor and proceeds to masturbate.

We’re all going to have different starter scenes, that’s what’s going to make yours unique.

Day 11 — Day 25

On each of these days I want you to work on revising that morning scene. Make it perfect! Is there sun coming through the blinds? Does your character masturbate once or do they masturbate twice? Maybe your character opens their computer and starts a screenplay as you start yours. And their story is about someone masturbating. Just keep working on this scene. You’re going to need it to be perfect before Day 26.

Day 26- Day 30

This is when the real work starts. Before opening the computer on any of these days see if you can find a friend to get some dinner with you, and make sure they like to drink. You’re going to want to be drunk before you get home so there’s no possible way you can finish your screenplay. You may want to start a new screenplay during this time. It’s good to have multiple projects to keep you from getting stymied. By the way, what is your screenplay about? If you don’t know, then before you go any further figure it out or how do you expect to write this thing. I recommend buying, but not reading, “How to Write A Screenplay” at this point.


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Comedian, writer, housewife, deemed "Really Good Person" by Buddhism Magazine 2 wks in a row.

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