Screenwriting Blog
Posted on by Courtney Meznarich

Week 8 of Zachary Rowell’s 90-Day Screenplay Challenge: Don’t Look Backward … Yet

This week, screenwriter Zachary Rowell told us he’s thankful for SoCreate this Thanksgiving. Aw! We’re thankful we get to help writers like him, and that we’ll be helping tens of thousands more once we launch the SoCreate Screenwriting Software. Of course, we are also thankful for Zachary being so vulnerable and open to sharing during his 90-day screenplay challenge. We hope you’re learning as much from him as we are.

Zachary is eight weeks into the challenge, and he’s nearing the end of his script. That leaves him with a few weeks to look back on his work and revise. But this week, he may have looked back too early. In his vlog, he explains how he fell into an old, critical habit, and why you should avoid that same trap.

To follow Zachary’s journey, join our Facebook Group – Screenwriting for Everyone, where Zachary shares his pages, polls, and more with you. Plus, if you’re working on a script of your own, we want to hear from you! Post to the group for feedback, encouragement, and inspiration if you’re stuck.

Missed a vlog? We’ve got the entire 90-day screenplay challenge playlist over on our YouTube channel. Subscribe while you’re there!

“Hello! And welcome back to another edition of these weekly vlogs. It’s Thanksgiving week, which means it’s like week number eight or nine for these vlogs, I believe. I could probably just look it up before I actually started the video, but where’s the fun in that.

Yeah, so, script update. That’s what we’re doing here. I’m closing in on page 80. So, I’m not exactly sure how many pages I’m going to end on yet. It’s looking like possibly 95-ish, 96-ish, somewhere around there. So, I’m getting close to the end of the first draft, which means – with Thanksgiving coming up I might not get a lot of writing done this week – so hopefully in the next week and a half to two weeks, I’ll be done with the script, and then I’ll have at least three weeks in December to look over it and rewrite it a little bit before I have to send it out to everyone to read.

This past week was interesting because I fell into an old habit that I used to do all the time, which was I would catch myself going back up a few pages and reading over what I had just put on the page. And that’s bad for a lot of reasons. One, you get stuck, and you’re not continuing with the momentum. You know you just wrote something, and you want to keep it going, but instead you’re scrolling back up and reading, and in my case, beating myself up. What did I just write? This is terrible. And I think I did it because I was writing a somewhat dramatic scene, and as I mentioned in a previous vlog, I guess I don’t fully trust myself with full-on drama yet, because probably in real life I like to use jokes in dramatic situations, so nothing feels too serious. This is a therapy session right now!

Anyway, so, yeah, I don’t trust myself when writing full drama, and I had this dramatic scene you know that I just wrote. It’s getting to the end of the script, so things are happening. And I was reading over the dialogue, and I fell into this bad headspace where I was just critiquing my work in a really negative light, and just looking at specific lines of dialogue like “would someone actually say that?! If this was happening, no one would say that! What was I thinking?!” Anyway, it’s not healthy, and it really put me in a bad mental space this past week, even though I got a fair amount of writing done. It just, who knows how productive it was because I was just really down on myself.

You know, I feel like with comedy – I mean, I don’t have comedy mastered or anything like that – but I feel like I know somewhat what works. I can tell on paper if it’s going to be funny, at least to some people. And with drama, I feel like at least, I just don’t have that eye. I feel like I’m just out there floating in the open waters, and I’m like, “I don’t know? Does this work?” So, yeah I have to stop that. It’s not going to do me any good.

Sorry, I got a little distracted. There’s construction taking place up the street, and there’s just a bunch of guys lined up to go to the port-a-potty. I don’t know if it’s like the designated pee time or what, but uh, yeah.

I think it’s time to end the vlog. I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving week if you celebrate Thanksgiving. If you don’t, just have a great week. A good, normal week without all the awkward conversations that come during Thanksgiving with distant relatives who ask you things like, “How’s your job going? Are you still doing that thing?” Yep. Still doing that thing.

Ok, bye.”

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