Thursday, July 08, 2010

Staying on schedule

This new screenplay I'm working on - Salvage - is pretty goddamn awesome. It's that perfect blend of stuff we've seen before with stuff we haven't seen before, and more than anything else I've ever written, I can see this selling. If I do it right.

Manager really wants to see it - I think I jazzed her with the logline unless she's just saying that to make me stop emailing so much - so my objective now is to crank out a quality draft in one month. With that in mind, I set a goal for myself of 5 pages a day. Five pages a day for five days a week plus a few extra here and there means a solid first draft in four weeks.

So far I've stuck to that plan. No matter what I do in the morning, at 3 pm I sit at my computer and write. I turn on my special ITunes writing mix and start typing. The first day, five pages. The second day, four pages.

No worries. If I have a short day, it means I have to spend the next day making up the difference. So on day three, six pages. Monday and Tuesday is my weekend for reasons that will remain a mystery to you.

Anyway, today I didn't think I was going to do it. A lot of today's material was still set-up and exposition and build up to a car chase. I knew once I got to the chase I'd write like gangbusters because action sequences flow from my fingertips without me actually having to think about it, but in the meantime I was having trouble forcing my way through heavy dialogue and character setup which always causes me trouble.

I got to page 18 and thought about stopping for the day, but then I remembered my vow. If I stop at page 18 today, that means two extra pages tomorrow. So I kept going.

And then before I knew it, there I was at the car chase. I decided that there's no way I can come up with some crazy amazing car chase violence that hasn't already been done, so I concentrated on what was going on inside the car our protagonist is driving. And suddenly I looked up and I was on page 22.

These aren't bad pages either. On the rewrite I'm sure I'll change a lot of the dialogue, but all in all I'm pretty proud of what I've cranked out.

Now I only have to write 3 pages tomorrow, but fuck that. If I write 8 pages I can be a day ahead. I wish someone would pay me to do this because I am having a blast.


  1. Anonymous7:22 PM

    Setting mini goals for churning out pages is quite the motivational tool. Plus, it always feels great to reach that daily goal or go beyond it.

    I remember reading once that John Milius would write one page a day. This way he would end up with a completed script every four months or so.

    For me? It's like Lays potato chips - I just can't stop at one.

  2. Anonymous9:52 PM

    I hope you're going to give a cut of whatever you make on this script to the guy who suggested the title...

    Speaking of which, when I suggested it I knew it sounded familiar and it is. "Salvage" is a film that came out (or due to come out soon) in the very distant present.


  3. Guys, please leave a name when you post so I can call you something.

    First Anonymous, John Milius is wise. As long as you have one more page at the end of the day than you did at the beginning, you're moving forward.

    And second Anonymous person, it's the title of two little known horror films, so I'm not concerned.

  4. "...and I'm having a blast"

    Does anything else matter?

    When I get in a grove writing a story and I look up and an hour has passed and it felt like 10 minutes. Good times.



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