Its taken 29 days exactly to complete the first draft of ’Absolute Freedom’. In the hope of helping you with your own projects, I would like to share my own experience writing the screenplay.
Before ‘Absolute Freedom’, I have written 7 full length feature screenplays, two of which have been made into movies. My third will be ‘Absolute Freedom’ which will be produced in 2014. Here are my observations on my experiences writing the first draft of the screenplay ‘Absolute Freedom’.
1. It was so much fun this time.
Yes, I cut off the phones and did not look at an email on every single morning that I wrote. The hardest part was when I had to stop. This time it was very exciting. In fact, it was the first time I felt nervous about the day’s writing at the start.
2. The importance of a really good screenplay.
I am very aware that every scene that I write effects a full on crew and cast shooting the scenes in March-April, 2014. I am also aware that millions of people around the world will see the film. The creations on the page now are what they will spend part of their life watching as a movie in late 2014 to 2015 and beyond. I must emphasise that creating an outstanding screenplay affects the whole production process down the line. If the script is hot, the crew and cast are excited and into the film. Likewise the opposite is true when the script is lame.
2. Writing pace and stats.
I started on Thursday, August 22nd, and finished the last page on Thursday, August 19th. Each writing session was about 2-3 hours long. So you could say that I wrote the screenplay in four weeks. However, on closer inspection, I averaged about 4-5 pages per day and wrote on average 4-5 days per week. I took Saturdays and Sundays off. The total screenplay is 96 pages long so in the the 29 day period I wrote for 21 dDays.
3. The writing zone.
The most challenging draft is the first draft of the screenplay. The writer faces blank
white emptiness when one sits down in the morning. The Director has a screenplay to work off. The Editor has the shots covering the scenes to work off. The Writer only has his or her creativity. I believe the writer needs a creative zone seperated from other people and interuptions. To write well, one needs to dive deeply. David Lynch expressed his thoughts about the writer’s zone in his recent book. He compared screenwriting to diving for fish. In the shallow waters, one only finds small fish. One needs to go deep, to find the big fish.
I personally wrote only in the morning. Normal work happened in the afternoon. When I concluded writing at 12.30pm and had to go to work at International Film Base in the afternoon, I found it hard to seperate from my story. I personally found that I suffered Left Brain Syndrome where your mind wanted to stay in the very pleasant world of creativity and resisted the drag to Right Brain Reality of logic and organization.
I assume this is why so many writers will cut themselves off from all distractions and find a cottage in the middle of some mountainous valley. They need to access the zone.
I started the 2nd draft on Monday, 22nd September, and I should have the 2nd draft completed by the end of this week. All the people who I have promised the script to by the end of the month, shall read ‘Absolute Freedom’ early next week.
To conclude, all the preparation before I wrote the first draft paid off handsomely. Having my 30 page Story Event Document meant that I always knew where I was going with the story. Spending time on my intensive preparation was so essential to the writing process on the First Draft of ‘Absolute Freedom’.
I am very interested to hear your thoughts on the writing process.