When beginning to write, most people want to write stories, either in the form of a short story or a novel. Many of us naturally visualise the stories we write – basically we run a movie in our minds. It makes complete sense to write a great story as a screenplay. Again, most enthusiastic new writers are in a hurry and want to know how to write a movie fast!
Without a doubt, speed isn’t the only criterion. Writing screenplays that sell are really what it’s all about. How to combine the two, that’s the question. The two videos below give the points of view of two professionals, a busy independent film maker and a script writer. Both know how to write a good screenplay and firmly believe, with organisation and commitment, anyone can write a screenplay in a month or so.
How To Write A Screenplay In One Month – Is It Possible?
Normally, you should be suspicious of headlines such as the one above, and so was I, until I came across a course offered by a seasoned professional script writer with the right credentials and a killer guarantee. I’m going to write it bold, because it’s hands-down the best guarantee I have ever seen on the internet:
I absolutely GUARANTEE that you’ll secure your first movie contract within the year. If you don’t, simply return the course within 12 months – and we’ll refund every cent you paid!
On with the show! Both of the professional talking below give screen-writing tips I can readily relate to and address issues that all writers face. We tend to be introverted and perfectionist, and really want even our first draft to be just right. This approach can be stifle that great idea that made us put pen to paper in the first place.
Writing a great script fast can release a writer from the the shackles that bind, allowing him or her to write rubbish, as long as the ideas are flowing. the script can be tidied up later, there’s no need to beat ourselves up before we’ve even pushed out a first draft.
The first draft is the time for creativity, not grammatical or syntactical perfection. The second draft of the script will be more considered and this is the time for a more objective and critical approach.
Advice On How To Write A Screenplay Fast
Yo, what’s up, guys. I am back in the car with some cool film-making wisdom, some tips to give you guys. So today I want to talk about how to write a screenplay fast. Why would you want to write a screenplay fast? Well check this out. As an independent filmmaker, I talked about a long time that you have a million things that you’re juggling.
You have so much on your plate, so many things to do and I tell people all the time that’s one of the most difficult jobs you could ever take on as being independent filmmaker. So what you want to do, if you’re writing a screenplay, do it really fast. That frees up time to start worrying about the other things.
With that being said, trust me when I tell you this writing a screenplay fast is good for not just saving you time. Some of you might be wondering about quality. This actually will help the quality of your film and I’ll tell you why.
The last script I wrote I believe is one of the best I’ve ever written in my entire life and it was also the fastest I ever wrote. The reason for that is because I wrote it so quick. Then we had to go through all the processes of, you know, pre-production, casting, you know, finding locations, getting the budget, all that stuff.
We had to go through all those things, so while we were doing that I was adjusting, making small adjustments here and there. To make the the rough draft I spit it out in two weeks. We were honing that in and really making it as good as it could be.
I would bounce it back over to my partner Jennifer and, yeah, and I feel like it was written better since I took the approach of trying to get it done as fast as I could. Always heard then it would be a good idea to sit down for 10 minutes a day and just commit.
You gotta make a big commitment there to say ‘I am gonna commit for the next two weeks of my life to write at least 10 minutes a day’. Everybody has ten minutes of their day that they can devote to something.
The reason that was one of the best things I can do is because I’ve found myself – what happens? You sit down for 10 minutes and once you get into it and you start putting pen to paper, the time goes by and suddenly you’ve been writing for an hour so., even though you dedicated only 10 minutes.
As you put that 10 minutes down, you find yourself in this writing zone and you just keep going. Now oviously if that doesn’t happen it’s okay and you just dedicated your 10 minutes. You wrote and you can close the tablet and, you know, go back to whatever you were doing.
But I really feel like that was one of the biggest, most helpful things for me when I was writing. The second thing I’ll tell you is something I get from Quentin Tarantino. Tarantino, I was listening to this cool interview with Eli Roth and Quentin Tarantino told Eli Roth he always should write his screenplays and paper by hand, you know old-school style.
And he and Roth was, like, we talked about ‘now I just type it up and quit’. Tarantino’s like ‘you can’t write poetry with a robotic, you know, tapping away on a with an electronic screen. You can’t create art by poking it some.
So you know, of it’s too robotic … it sounded cool to me…. It’s just different. You feel different. It’s got this different vibe to it, when you’re writing ing by hand and I really believe that because I started writing by hand. When I heard that and I tried it and now I do it with everything.
When I write from day to day I’ll write them out by hand. There’s something about it, you’re connected to it more. It’s physical in nature. It’s in the real world with you, so I think that that’s better. And Plus, you can scribble. You can just keep going.
What you want to do is, you want to get (I guess this would be the third tip) we’re gonna get a cheap little 99 cent notebook ,paper tablet notebook, paper tablet and carry it with you at all times, so that if you haven’t gotten your 10 minutes that day you just flip that bad boy over and scribble down for 10 minutes.
Get them, get the ideas out of your head and that that’s gonna be huge because you don’t want to 5 or 10 minutes and not have something . Right on, but be careful – don’t lose it , happened to me.
Tip number four – on this, what you want to do, what I found to be so helpful was I started by saying I had my intro scene, the very first scene of the movie and then I typed out what I knew. Because I knew what I wanted to happen in the opening of the movie and I knew how the movie should end, and then I had one or two big moments in the movie that I knew.
So I like it I brought out a timeline on a piece of paper. It’s like ‘ intro – this happens, then this happens’. As you’re writing, you know, you’re going from point A to point B. You know where you’re going next and so you’re like ‘how can I get this character? what should this character be doing in order to get them to this point here?’
They visit this point of the story point at the timeline, so I’m telling you right now that was a big help for me. So there are some other things you could do. I think it’s important to listen to motivational things that stay motivated.
Right you know, I would have some of my heroes, like I changed the screen saver and the background on my computer and the background on my phone. I changed those to pictures of my heroes. You know, people that I really respect. Some of my favorite directors and favorite writers and favorite achievers and you know my heroes.
I changed the pictures of those and, you know, it seems silly but you when you see that on a daily basis it’s just a little reminder ‘hey, get to work! hey,you got dreams! hey, you got things to do!’ and it would remind me of what I need to finish and then I had a mission.
So if you got a screenplay you’re working on, get to work. You can do it. You can do it fast and you can tweak it, and it can be amazing and then you can go out and make a cool film. I hope you guys found these tips useful. Please subscribe to my channel. Hit that little annoying Bell. I know it’s stupid but if you hit that Bell it will notify you when I have a video coming up next, so get those things for me and I will talk to you guys soon. Peace out.
Write A Screenplay In less Than A Month
Film Courage: When do you start writing everyday?
Danny Strong, Screenwriter/Actor: So I have basically the same pattern when I’m writing. Sometimes if I’m in production it will change. But if I’m just in a writing phase (which is my favorite to be honest with you because I love my schedule as a writer) I wake up, I go somewhere, have breakfast and usually I can go somewhere and write and then I’ll open my computer…so now it’s around 10:30ish and then I return emails for about an hour or an hour and a half, and then I start writing.
And then I write for about three to four hours straight and then I’m done. And that is basically my process. And sometimes it takes me about two hours to get started and then when I get to that two hour mark and haven’t started that’s when self-loathing comes in, so then I do get started. But usually I can get going in about an hour. But usually I can get going to about an hour to an hour and a half.
Film Courage: Is this on a computer that is hooked up to the Internet?
Danny Strong: Yeah, I definitely stay on the Internet because I’m looking things up all the time as I’m writing. Sometimes it’s just random things…like I’m looking for a synonym or something. And I’ll just got to synonym and type in a word and some synonyms will pop up. So it can be as simple as that.
Film Courage: So it’s not a distraction?
Danny Strong: No, not on the whole. I mean it can be a little bit but it works for me. And so that’s my schedule.
Film Courage: What’s the longest writing day you’ve ever had?
Danny Strong: I don’t like to write once I get tired because then I just lose my focus and the writing is not as good. But the first two seasons on Empire I wrote a lot of the show.
So those would turn into sometimes long days where you’re writing and rewriting an episode and you’re doing a lot of work so sometimes you’re doing a lot of work so sometimes 10 hours. And I don’t like it at all and I think the work suffers for it.
Film Courage: So you think you’re better at the 3-4 hour mark?
Danny Strong: Yeah! That’s why I do it. It’s literally as soon as I start to lose my focus, then I just stop. And I don’t have writer’s block. It’s not a very dramatic thing. There’s no inspiration, I don’t wait for inspiration. I say inspiration is for amateurs.
Amateurs get inspired, professionals just go do it. And it’s not even very dramatic anymore. I mean I just go and I know I’m going to do it. I mean I know I’m going to get stuff done. And it’s very productive to be honest with you.
I find that I get a lot of writing done because I don’t make a big deal about it. It’s not this big dramatic thing for me. I just show up and I just get going. Like I said, it takes sometimes an hour and hour and a half to actually get started. Occasionally two hours!
And then we just start going and I try to be non-judgemental of it. And I don’t sit there and question it or think that I’m not talented or…I just try and do it. And then there’s a phase when you have to edit it and go through it and that is a more critical part of your brain.
But I do my best not to beat myself up about it. And if I don’t like something I just change it and I just keep working on it and working on it and not turn it into some big melodramatic, artist’s struggle.
I don’t view it that way at all. I will say one thing that I think could be very interesting to people that are writers is what I do is I outline a script very meticulously and my outlines are about 25 pages to 30 pages long.
And then when I go to write the actual first draft, I will not reread one word of what I’ve written until I’ve written the whole script. So for my first pass on a screenplay, I start from the beginning and then I just go…and I go all the way through until I’m done without having read one word of it and it takes about three weeks.
So in three weeks, I’ve written a whole draft and it’s a whole draft and it’s a lot of fun because there is no judgement whatsoever. I’m just writing straight through. And then I go through and very meticulously work through the scenes and that takes two to three weeks and then in six weeks I have a draft but it’s really two drafts because I’ve done one straight through and then one (this sort of meticulous work-through).
And I will say that the second phase of it (the meticulous work-through phase) is the least enjoyable part of the process because it’s the most critical where for a couple weeks I just I have to work through these scenes but I just do it.
And then after that I have a draft to work off of and then there are many drafts after that. But I have this nice foundation.
Film Courage: Going back to what you said about not making a big deal about waiting for inspiration, was it always this way for you?
Danny Strong: No this was over many years of figuring this out. And for the first several years I was writing, I was deep in my acting career and writing was more therapeutic to get my mind off of the very painful trials and tribulations of an acting career because it’s very difficult and you get rejected a lot.
And all of the cliches are absolutely true but I was serious about it but I think it just took awhile of realizing that beating yourself up and I have no talent and this is terrible, I’ll work with a writer and they’ll say “Oh that was sh*t!”
And I’ll say “Don’t worry about it. Don’t worry about if it’s good or bad, just take a look at it and see what could be improved. There’s no reason to be so caustic and hostile about the material. It’s just words on a screen. You can change them. Just change them.” So that’s very much something that guides me in my work.