I love the theme of screenwriter Kaylord Hill’s vlog check-in today. It’s all about sacrifice for the sake of writing, choosing this over that, and getting serious about our writing craft. It made me step back and take an honest look at my behavior; I say I want to achieve some goal, but am I willing to do what it takes to get there?
Hill won SoCreate’s Screenwriter Stimulus just a couple of weeks ago, and he’s already learning hard lessons about what it’s going to take to tackle the challenge to write a feature-length script in 30 days. He has some cash motivation, of course, but to earn his $1,000 paycheck each week, he must meet weekly page and vlog milestones.
Well, week one is over. Did Kaylord write the required 20-30 pages? Watch and see.
Alright guys, how’re you doing? It’s Kaylord Hill. I’m back once again, SoCreate Screenwriter Stimulus winner, and I’m feeling good, feeling blessed, and feeling really optimistic about my script.
It was week one. And so the question is, did I get the pages turned in on time? Did I meet my goal? Did I meet my requirements? I did. I got it done. I got it done.
As you know, Thursday, I said I was really focusing on getting my outline together, and I hadn’t written probably a page yet. By Thursday, I don’t think I had. Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and even earlier this morning, I really spent some time focusing on really pounding the pages away and trying to figure out what story I was trying to tell myself. Because that’s what a first draft is, right? We’re really trying to tell ourselves what we think the story is we want to tell, right?
But the interesting thing is this week really has nothing to do with the pages I wrote. I wrote some good pages, and then there were some pages I’m going to give another shot at; I’ll revise, and I’ll take another look at. The thing I want to talk about is how the pages got done.
Now, why is that important? Because we’re always, as writers, we’re always going to have things that come up. We’re always going to have family. We’re always going to have career. We’re always going to have commitments. And so the question is, and this is kind of the theme of my message today, what are you going to say no to so you can say yes to writing? Right? What are you going to say no to today so you can say yes to writing today?
And that’s important because friends of mine, been friends for ten plus years, invited me out to brunch. Now, if I said yes, brunch is going to be a three to four-hour ordeal, and I’m going to lose some valuable time writing. Or, I can skip brunch. You know, there’ll be other brunches. And I can really take this time and maximize this opportunity with SoCreate to pound away on the pages as much as I can. I chose the latter.
I wrote from about 7 a.m. to about 9 p.m. on Sunday. And it was the best thing. Turned my phone off and really just focused in on the pages. One thing I do that I’m sure other people do, but I just have got to say it just to put it out there in the world – sprints. I don’t write for two hours, three hours at a time. I break it up. I run sprints. I write sprints, rather. So, 45 minutes. And if you think about it, when you set the clock for 45 minutes, that’s a long time. Especially when you feel like you’re staring at a blank page, that’s a long time. So, I do 45-minute sprints. Once the timer goes off, I may write a little bit over it. I generally take about a ten to 15-minute break, and then I hit it again. So, if I’m going to write for five hours, I do five sprints. And it really helps. It keeps me refreshed, gets me thinking, gets me energized about what I’m already writing, builds some momentum. So, I feel good about it.
The other thing I do, one of my best friends has really pushed me on this, and he’s held me accountable, and I think I’ve been doing a pretty decent job of it, but I calendar everything. I calendar when I’m going to write for 15 minutes. I calendar when I write for 25 minutes. I think the goal for everybody is not only to just write and to really work on the craft of screenwriting but to be a part of the business of screenwriting. So, I think, and this is my opinion, is that what’s useful for my process, if I want to elevate and be up there with other great screenwriters that are part of the industry and part of the business, then I have to treat my writing like the business, and be concerned about the business of my screenwriting. So, I think that’s important. I wanted to share that with you guys.
So, create a calendar, a time. I’m taking a four-day hiatus from work, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, so there’s going to be a whole lot of pages going down, so stay tuned for that.
The last thing, and I think I said this last week or maybe the first time, first drafts. Writing a first draft for me, it’s fun, it’s exhilarating, it’s also like, I want to get it over with quick. And I want to get it over with quickly because, for me, I thrive on the second draft. The second draft for me is really where you establish the bones of your story, the structure of your story, and I think, I’d say ten percent second draft, but really probably 100 percent of the third draft for me, the third draft is about nuance. It’s about inserting all those things that are really important to the story. The details, the finer points, the dialogue, or the lack there of of dialogue, inserting certain scenes that you think would really be useful in illustrating what your message is in your film.
But that’s it, y’all. For me, the important takeaway from week one is, what am I going to say no to, so I can say yes to writing. Right? Keep pounding the pages. Keep doing your thing. I’m rooting for y’all. Hope you’re rooting for me. Until next time. See you soon.