Screenwriting Blog
Posted on by Courtney Meznarich

SoCreate’s Screenwriter Stimulus Challenge Winner Stares Down His First Draft Deadline in Week 3

Surprise! SoCreate’s Screenwriter Stimulus winner Kaylord Hill tells me he will finish the first draft of his 30-day challenge screenplay this week. I am shocked and impressed, and I can’t wait to read it! Technically, he has until the end of the month to turn in his completed screenplay, but he explains in this week’s vlog why he’s aiming for a December 18 first draft deadline.

Kaylord also details three things that he never does while writing a screenplay but that he did do this time around. Will it help or hurt the process? We’ll find out soon enough.

"Hey folks, how are you doing? It’s Kaylord Hill once again. It’s the end of week two of the SoCreate Screenwriter Stimulus challenge. Thank you, folks, for following me, for all of those who have. And, if you are just joining in on the journey with me, welcome. Glad to have you.

So, I’ve talked a lot about advice and learning milestones that I’ve encountered over the last couple weeks of me writing, and I’ve kind of divulged a lot of advice or just things that I have found that worked for me that, you know, I want to give to the writing community. This week, or today, I really want to talk about the pages and where my story’s going.

So, my story is about two people. One is a divorced restaurateur, the other’s a grieving therapist who lost her father, and they embark on a journey to sort of throw the five stages of grief on its head. And so, the reason why this story means a lot to me is, I’ve had a lot of friends, family, what-have-you, endure some personal strife when it comes to dealing with the loss of a career, the loss of a loved one, or loss of a relationship. So, this has been a very top-of-mind thing that I’ve wanted to focus on.

The first draft, for me, is always kind of telling the story to myself. And I think once I realize that, I stop judging myself so much in the first draft. And I started letting the characters and letting the story sort of come to me, and tell me, this is what we want to be, this is what we need to be. And so, in doing that this week, I have found out that this story that I’m writing, I’ve done two things that I typically don’t do. Number one, I think I’ve pinpointed its scale, and then number two, I’ve pinpointed the comps, and I usually don’t mess around with comps, so I would say there’s one thing I normally don’t do. But the comps are, for me, “Medicine for Melancholy” meets “Roman Holiday.” Both of them have 24-hour journeys. And I realized in writing over the last week or so that that’s what this story is. This is a 24-hour journey about two people who are mourning the loss of a loved one and mourning the loss of a relationship, trying to figure out how to overcome the weight of grief before it really kind of takes its toll on them. So, they’re trying to be more preemptive than reactive, and we’ll see if it works or not.

The other thing that I typically don’t do, the number one thing I typically don’t do, I don’t think about whether I’m going to shoot this or not shoot this. I don’t think about whether I’m going to sell this to Lionsgate, or am I going to sell it to HBO Max, or is it going to be a Netflix original. I typically don’t think about those things. But this time I did. And I did because I really wanted to take ownership of this story. And one of the reasons that I moved to Austin, Texas, is because I’m an indie filmmaker or indie storyteller. And so I want to shoot this story. I want to shoot this story, and I want to own its visual storytelling. I want to be able to put down, you know, I want to invest in all the merits that this story has and possesses. And so I really started thinking about how can I write this story to scale based on the city I live in and based on all the amenities that it has and how can I explore Austin and how can my characters explore Austin in a way that really serves the story. Right? And so that has really helped me think about where I want to go with my second draft.

So, the writing is actually going really well. It’s moving along at a great pace. I’m about 40 pages in. Tomorrow’s the deadline, so I’m feeling pretty good about meeting the deadline. I’m about 40 pages in. But by the end of the night, though, I want to be at about 60 pages, and the reason why is, I plan to finish this script this Saturday. So, at the tail end of this week, I plan for this script to be done. And I want to do that because, for me, there are about three things I want to accomplish in this script before I turn it in on the 28th, and I really want to put my best foot forward. Right? So my goal is to finish this script, the first draft, on the 18th of this week, and then I’m going to have my friends, my producer-savvy friends from film school, take a look at it, and my screenwriting savvy friends as well, take a look at it and give me some notes. And then I will spend the most of like Christmas eve, Christmas and what-have-you, really grinding it out and really polishing off the pages and putting it, putting forth the best story I possibly can.

Folks, that’s all I got. I’m pounding the pages, pages going down as I always say. Until next time, keep writing, keep fighting. Alright, see you soon."

SoCreate's Screenwriter Stimulus Winner Kaylord Hill

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