We’re nearing the middle of SoCreate’s Screenwriter Stimulus challenge. With just over two weeks to go, our winner Kaylord Hill is learning a lot about what it actually takes to write a feature-length screenplay in just one month. But if he can do it, the reward will be sweet: $4,000 cash and a finished screenplay before we finally put 2020 to bed.
But there’s another thing Kaylord hopes to get out of this four-week long process that has nothing to do with the cash or the script. He explains in this week’s vlog update below.
"Hey folks, how are you doing? It’s Kaylord Hill, once again. It’s week two of the SoCreate Screenwriter Stimulus Challenge, and I’m feeling very positive, very blessed, and just very calm – as calm as you can be to write a feature in a month. So, things are going well.
So, to kick off week two, I turned in my 20 pages on Monday, which felt really good. I took 24 hours away because I think what’s indicative of my process is to always give myself space. So, the same way I sort of write for 45 minutes and take a 15-minute break when I go on a flurry or a three to four-day stretch of writing five pages, six pages, ten pages, twelve pages, once I hit a goal, I give myself like a 24-hour break. And the reason why is so 24 hours later, I can come back to the pages fresh with a renewed sort of spirit to write some more and create some more.
There are three things that I kind of want to leave you folks with today that have been helpful to me throughout this journey. And, you know, it’s early, but three things that have really been great for me: So, number one, I’d say, chipping off the block. I think if you’re a writer that likes to write ten, 15, 20 pages, go for it. You know, go for it. That’s amazing. However, if you’re also the writer that’s like, you know I like to write two pages, three pages, chip, chip, chip, I think there’s a lot to be said about chipping off the block. And honestly, it’s something I’ve struggled with. Because sometimes, honestly, sometimes I think there’s this idea that if you’re not writing 15-20 to 25-35 pages a day, that you haven’t really created or really written. And that’s kind of a fallacy. If you wrote one page, you wrote. If you wrote a scene, you wrote. If you wrote a scene of dialogue, you did some good writing today. And so I think chipping off the block is underappreciated sometimes. So, I really, in this process, I’m chipping off the block. I’m trying to take my time but also hurrying up and being productive at the same time.
Number two: For me, I’ve had to decide, really, really decide, when I’m going to be at my maximum peak productive self. Right? And so, for a lot of people, that’s writing in the morning, that is writing after lunch, that’s writing at night when the house is clear. For me, I like to get an early start. I like to start at about 6 a.m. and go to about 3 p.m. or 4 p.m. And so, in that time frame, I’ll do eight or nine 45-minute sprints with 15-minute breaks and then like an hour for lunch or something like that. I think it’s very, very important to decide what is your process – finding when you are at your best, finding the things that motivate you to write. And then once you find those things, once you gather those four or five things, own it. Own your process and decide this is what I do. This is what it takes for me to create my best work. So, that’s been really key for me in this experience as well.
The last thing I’ll leave you with is: the journey is just as important as the destination. So, at the end of this, I’m going to have a 90-120 page script, and that’s going to be amazing. But one thing I keep thinking about and keep coming back to is that if I only leave this experience with a script, then I feel like I’ve kind of cheated myself. I think this is a great opportunity to maximize, really exploring, experimenting with how I approach character, how I approach story, how I approach structure. So, as much time as I give myself to write, giving myself as much time to sort of evaluate, evaluate and reflect with my peers, you know my cohort friends from film school about what I’m learning in this process and throwing it at them and seeing what they think, and taking their feedback as well. The journey is so, so significant. In fact, you know, my journey to competing in this year’s Screenwriter Stimulus was really, really impactful. So, that was one of the things I talked about in my cover letter was the journey that I had been on since last year, since receiving the news last year. And so losing, in some regard for me, was really, really good because it enabled me and motivated me to say, alright, I need to own this process. I may not compete in SoCreate again. I’m glad I did. I’m glad I’m here with you folks. But it really challenged me to view my writing and view the experience that’s coupled with the writing just as much.
So, it’s the journey, not just the destination. I hope all the pages are going well. Keep pounding the page. Pages are always going down. Until next time, folks! Next time I’ll have an update on what’s going on with the pages. Until then, folks, see you soon."