Greetings all! I thought that, this week, I’d post a normal blogpost which I have not done for a very long time. “But why David?” you may be wondering, or maybe,  ”What’s your excuse this time?” maybe even “How’d you get so fly?” (Probably not the latter, though.) I can answer all of these (Except the last one) with two words! 
Feature Script (and, in answer to the last question: Natural blond hair)

In 8 days I went from “Fade In” to “Fade out” on my first ever feature script. Is it terrible? Yes! But it’s the first draft of my first script of this length. but this post is not about how terrible it is; this post is about what I learned writing in such an atypical way to my usual process.

Here is how my usual process goes.

  • Idea
  • Outline
  • Delete halfway through
  • New outline
  • Delete 3/4’s of the way through
  • New, new outline
  • Delete it
  • New, new, new outline
  • Begin script
  • Get obsessed about re-writes before I’m done the first page
  • Burn out
  • Leave the script alone for 6 months
  • Pick it up again, see it as terrible, and start the script again, finishing the first draft.

This is known as the IODeNeDeNeDeNeBeGeBLeP technique.

Then, if I’m lucky, 2 years later I’ll have a 5 page script (Or, if I’m really lucky, 1 year). Trying to write a feature script was a lot different. I knew that I could not tackle it the same way I had been tackling shorts before. Now, I do not regard myself as a writer, So take everything that I say with a grain of salt.

The idea started when I was in the mood to write, but had no inspiration. I dug out some of my old notebooks, and began leafing through them. I found an old Idea I had discarded and decided to pursue it. the prospect of writing out an outline was not a great one. I wanted to just get straight to writing story so I did something I’ve never tried before. I wrote the protagonists diary, as it would read over the course of the film. At this point, I did not know if the film would be a feature, a short, or somthing inbetween. I just wrote until the story reached a natural conclusion. I did something that I’ve never been able to do before during this process. something that I’ve always had trouble with; Ignoring what I’ve written and not allowing myself to be filtered.

It became quite clear early on that this story was destined to be a feature. And it became quite obvious to me that I could not just jump back in the pages I’ve written and redo things like I’m used to. I just had to power through until the Protagonist’s diary was done. this was a big step for me as, without fail, I am hyper-critical of my own work and will burn out before page 2 or 3 with rewrites.

When the protagonist’s diary was done, I took a few days away from it and then digitized it; rewrote everything I had written in the notebook and put it into a google docs folder (One document for each day in the diary). This is when I could tighten things up, and make it more cohesive. I left this alone for a few days: Only touching on bits of the story that had to do with the setting, and not necessarily the plot (what state the world is in and why. the fun stuff!)

When it came time to actually sit down in front of Final Draft and start writing is when it really hit me that my old method would not work. I would be dilly dallying and the script would never get past page ten. So I broke every instinct I had, thanks to the practice I had writing the protagonists diary/outlining the story and just powered through.

Eight days later, I wrote the words Fade Out and the script was done. Now, there are logical inaccuracies, how I imagined a character when I started the script had changed by the end of the script, how different characters knew each other changed etc. etc. etc. but, for the first time, I got past my insecurities and just plowed through until the script was done. Now, once I take a break for a few days to help my brain take a bit of a break and separate ’writing’ from ‘rewriting’, I can go back and fix all fo these mixups, and fix any break in the story etc. 

People always say: “Just write, don’t revise. Just write until it’s done.”, and that is a very difficult thing for me to do, tackling a feature has really helped me get past that sort of block in my mind that tells me to not proceed, and to fix what I have already written.

Will anything come of the feature? Probably not. It’s my first time tackling something this long, but is still an accomplishment badge I can attach to my cub-scout sash of life.

David “Next week will be a real Project Monday” Fulde