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Work Smarter Time Management Tips For Scriptwriters

timeMost aspiring screenwriters and other Hollywood professionals are working sort of randomly, when they have time, to write screenplays, to watch films, to read screenplays, or to network, or to get into screenwriting contests, or to find an agent, and work their day job, spend time with their girlfriends, boyfriends, or families.

It’s got to be exhausting. Sometimes it helps to work smarter. Have a method to your madness.

Scott Myers has written over twenty movie projects at every major Hollywood studio for Larry Gordon, Dawn Steel, Wendy Finerman, Chuck Gordon, Castle Rock Entertainment, Working Title, Outlaw Productions, and others. His writing credits include K-9, starring Jim Belushi, Alaska, starring Vincent Kartheiser, andTrojan War, starring Jennifer Love Hewitt.

He writes a blog for the Blacklist.  This is one of his best.

1, 2, 7, 14
January 1st, 2012 by Scott Myers

Here is a simple formula about three things — Read Scripts. Watch Movies. Write Pages. — you need to do to expand and deepen your understanding of the screenwriting craft.

4 numbers for you to remember:

1, 2, 7, 14.

1: Read 1 screenplay per week.
Pick out your favorite movies. Or do a genre study of several scripts in a row in one genre. Try scripts in genres you don’t particularly like to experience different tone and atmosphere. But every week, read at least 1 full-length movie screenplay.

2: Watch 2 movies per week.
Go to a theater and watch 1 movie for sheer entertainment value. Rub shoulders with a real crowd to remind you of your target audience.

Then cue up Netflix or pop in a DVD, and watch 1 movie to study it. Note its major plot points. Better yet, do a scene-by-scene breakdown. Maybe 1 new movie, 1 classic movie. But every week, watch at least 2 feature-length movies.

7: Write 7 pages per week.
That’s one page per day. It may take you ten minutes, it may take you an hour, but however long it takes, you knock out a page per day so that every week, you produce 7 script pages.

14: Work 14 hours per week prepping a story.
This is how you will learn the fine art of stacking projects. While you are writing one story, you are prepping another. Research. Brainstorming. Character development. Plotting. Wake up early. Take an extended lunch break. Grab a few hours after dinner. Stay up late.

Whatever it takes, carve out 2 hours per day for story prep. Create a master file Word doc. Or use a spiral notebook. Put everything you come up with into that file. You’d be amazed how much content you will generate in a month.

Most professional screenwriters juggle multiple projects at the same time. Here’s how you can start learning that skill-set: Writing one project, prepping another.

Two hours per day so that every week, you devote 14 hours to prep.

1, 2, 7, 14.

Those are simple, clear goals. Daily goals, weekly goals.
If you do this, here’s what you will have done in one year’s time:

You will have read 52 screenplays.

You will have watched 104 movies

You will have written 2 feature-length screenplays.

Spread that out over 5 years: 260 screenplays, 520 movies, 10 original screenplays.

That means you could have read every one of the top 101 screenplays as voted by the WGA, plus 159 more.

That means you could have seen every one of the IMDB Top 250 movies, plus 270 more.

That means you could have written the exact number of original screenplays Lawrence Kasdan (Body Heat, The Bodyguard, The Big Chill, Grand Canyon) wrote before he sold his first one.

All by setting these simple goals: 1, 2, 7, 14.

 

If you’re struggling to come up with a great idea for a screenplay, or if you’ve started one and just can’t figure out how to finish it, call for a free phone consult from a veteran screenwriter.

Image credit: Creative Commons Time 2011 by John Morgan is licensed under CC By 2.0

Work Smarter Time Management Tips For Scriptwriters


David Silverman, MA, LMFT



A lot of careers can really knock you around. The compettiion is fierce, in graphic design, architecture, you name it -- especially in creative careers in Hollywood. Writers and performers get slammed with rejection constantly. If you're going through something -- anxiety, addiction or depression -- I help people like you get through it. And thrive. Let me help you get your dream back on track.

Please check out my website: davidsilvermanlmft.com My story: my brother grew up with a severe case of OCD, and while I just a kid --- in family therapy with him, I witnessed a miracle as he was transformed, and now is enjoying the life he deserves. I went to Stanford University to study Psychology, and USC Film. I've worked in FIlm/TV and experienced high levels of anxiety, and got slammed with rejection myself. I learned how to get through it. Today, I love to help people to regain the lifestyle they deserve.

David Silverman Psychotherapy


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APA Reference
Silverman, D. (2015). Work Smarter Time Management Tips For Scriptwriters. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 15, 2019, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/hollywood-therapy/2015/09/work-smarter-time-management-tips-for-scriptwriters/

 

Last updated: 25 Sep 2015
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