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More Great Advice For Screenwriters

“If you have four ideas, all equally viable, I’d recommend writing the one that has the best ending. That’s the one you’ve thought through the most, and the one you’re least likely to abandon midway.” -John August

Great quote. Some more great ideas on how to be a better writer, how to find time to write, how to sell screenplays – and some just random good advice, and great quotes.

To keep from procrastinating. Try using a “virtual deadline” This is a trick I use. I block out four hours to write. I’ll give myself one hour to write. During that time, I’ll write as if there was a deadline. Sometimes I’ll check the clock. Other times I’ll set a timer. I’ll write for one hour straight.

Then, I’ll take a break. A twenty minute break. During that period, I’ll check texts, emails, play a video game, make calls or whatever. Then I’ll set another deadline. One hour to write, followed by a twenty minute break. And so on. After you finish three sets, you’ll have done four hours work.
When you write to a deadline, you bring your full attention to the task. You get things done quickly, then have time to breathe, as it were, and play during breaks, which keeps your mind sharp.

“There are only three kinds of scenes, a fight, a negotiation or a seduction.”
-Mike Nichols

Getting things done. Remember how good it feels to finish a scene, or an act. Focus on getting it done. Reward yourself for finishing short-term goals. Have a beer. Go see a movie.
When you have many too things to do, try to get the most difficult task done first. The rest will feel easier. Let’s say you have to balance your checkbook. Get the chore out of the way early, while you have energy.

You might find yourself thinking, “I’m just not that interested in writing today.” Schedule some time to write when you are at your best. If you’re a morning person, start early. If you’re a night person, write after midnight.

“So: we, the writers, must ask ourselves *of every scene* these three questions. 1) who wants what? 2) what happens if he don’t get it? 3) why now?… The answers to these questions are litmus paper. Apply them, and their answer will tell you if the scene is dramatic or not.” -David Mamet

Another time management tip. Learn to say “no” You’ve got to turn down people who ask you to do extra work. You can do it, just say, “Sorry, I’m just too busy.” Then prepare yourself for their comeback, such as, “But I helped you out last week.” If you anticipate the reaction, you won’t get caught off guard and agree.

And last but not least – William Goldmans “Ten Commandments of screenwriting.”
“1).Thou shalt not take the crisis out of the protagonist’s hands. 2)Thou shalt not make life easy for the protagonist. 3) Thou shalt not give exposition for exposition’s sake. 4) Thou shalt not use false mystery or cheap surprise. 5) Thou shalt respect thy audience. 6) Thou shalt know thy world as God knows this one. 7) Thou shalt not complicate when complexity is better. 8)Thou shalt seek the end of the line, taking characters to the farthest depth of the conflict imaginable within the story’s own realm of probability. 9) Thou shalt not write on the nose — put a subtext under every text. 10.) Thou shalt rewrite.” -William Goldman

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More Great Advice For Screenwriters

David Silverman, MA, LMFT

A lot of careers can really knock you around. The competition is fierce, in graphic design, journalism, 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: 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. (2020). More Great Advice For Screenwriters. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 8, 2020, from


Last updated: 9 Mar 2020
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