How hard is it to write a script?
For me, most of the time it was really fun, however there were some really tough moments I would like to share with you in this post. First off, let me tell you how everything started for me.
One winter morning back in 2010 a good friend of mine entered my office and shared a great story about a movie he had seen the previous evening. He was really excited and told me that it would be great if we could shoot our own film like the one he saw. He was really inspired and moved. At that point shooting was a full-time gig for me, although I had some previous experience as a DP on some small budget music video productions.
I shared with him that actually it wasn’t so hard to produce a three-minute short video on low-budget, so may be if we try we could do something a little bit longer. Something like 90 minutes longer. He was really encouraged by my words and simple asked me “When do we start?”. I said “We just did!” At that point we had nothing except…
Everything starts with an idea (a good or a bad one) and taking some small steps in the right direction. That’s how we began the process.
On the next day we met at my place and discussed a different ideas, what kind of story do we want to tell, who the main characters would be etc. I was the guy sitting behind the computer. I was writing while we were discussing different aspects of the plot. On the first day we worked around 4 hours and at the end of the day we had completed the first two pages of our draft.
On the next day, we managed to finish another two pages. On the day after another two and so on. We were writing during weekdays or a couple of hours at the end of the day and we usually took a break during the weekend.
DISCIPLINE WAS ESSENTIAL
In the beginning, we thought our writing pace was really slow. Now, I know it was actually really good. Even though, we managed to get only one or two finished pages per day at most. However, at the end of the first month we had around 40 finished pages of our draft. This was really encouraging and it motivated us to continue. After two and a half months our 1st draft was completed. We had 84 pages in a single MS Word file on my computer.
Nevertheless, there were a lot of moments when we didn’t know how to continue our story. The dialogue wasn’t perfect and we changed it on many occasions. We made a lot of mistakes, many of the lines ended up being re-written, but that is how we learnt a lot. That experience was invaluable for us and I’m sure this is the case for every writer at the beginning of his/her debut project.
Plot twists can bring a whole new dimension to your story. Both necessary, but tricky, they can also submarine the whole thing, or bring your work to a whole new level. Be careful with that part of the process. It’s a tricky one. Make sure you have at most three of them in your plot.
KEEP WRITING AND THEN RE-WRITE
No matter how much we tried to elaborate the story, there was always something that we felt that wasn’t right. Something needed to be changed and polished a little bit more on the next day. Re-writing was integral part of the process. Write. Write a lot, all the time. Every day. Re-write. This turned into very useful habit that helps me a lot with my work on this blog. Practice makes perfect!
FIND A GOOD COLLABORATOR
I was lucky that I had someone, whom I can trust, to work with and to share my ideas with. Stoyan and I worked as a team. I’m not quite sure if I would be able to do the job and pull this off all on my own.
We’ll continue to share our experience, but we also would like to hear your thoughts and what you’ve learnt while writing your first draft. Feel free to share in the comments below!