Monday, March 8, 2010

TODAY'S NUGGET: I've Got a Request! Now What?

Last night at an Oscar party, I met a new writer who had just gotten a script request.  I noticed that the glow from the request was fading & it was beginning to sink in that the hard work was about to begin. 

It's like you've been practicing on a tricycle, & suddenly you're handed a two wheeler. You're thinking to yourself, "I've-accomplished-a-big-step-what-the-hell-do-I-do-now?"

A few tips:

1 - Relax.  Take a day to decompress.

2 - Realize this is a new reality of being a writer.  Be proud of yourself for taking another step in your career.  Now, take what you've learned from this blog & put it into practice.  The worst thing you can do is forget what you've learned.

3 - Speak words of encouragement to yourself every day.  As the demands of life begin to take over your attention, you'll be tempted to think, "I can't do this" and "I'll just forget this request." 

You, and only you, are responsible for keeping your emotions in check & your creative floodgates open. 

Do NOT talk down to yourself when you have a bad writing day.

Do NOT talk about failure, because there is no failure. Even if you get a "no," it's a "no" on this project - not on projects forever.  And b/c you have a relationship, you can submit again.

If you're not confident in your vision (or able to fake it until you make it), then you're not cut out for life as a writer.  That's what we're paid for - our vision.

4 - A few words on perfectionism. 

You've put time aside & made writing a priority to make this script request in 30 days.  (Good)

Your rewrite is stalling.  (Bad)

You POLITELY inquire if you could have another 30 days, & it is granted. (Good)

You're refusing to show your script to anyone, but the time is ticking down. (Bad)

You miss the deadline again. (Very bad)

You just don't submit. (Very, very bad b/c you're not acting professionally)

What's the morale of the story?  Realize you need help sooner than later.  GET HELP.  Ask a friend to read your script, even unfinished.  Get story notes, get coverage, get SOMETHING to help you finish.

Also, don't defeat yourself by measuring yourself against a shooting draft of an Oscar nominated script, or someone else's work.  Those have multiple passes with development notes & have been polished & polished & polished FOR YEARS.

Your job: Hand in the VERY VERY BEST draft you can.  But if it has a small hole, that is ok. 

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: Your job is to deliver the vision.

A reader is thinking, "Do I like this script as a whole?" 

The small stuff can be easily fixed, but the vision can't.

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