28 May, 2006

Rom-Com Challenge

I'm following Ops's lead and joining the 14 Day Screenwriting Challenge.

Too many people are doing it now for me to chicken out - although I badly want to. I mean, the World Cup is on for most of those days for flip's sake!

But let's face it, we can multi-task if we want to, so we can think through a scene while we wait for the bus, feed our baby or sit in a boring business meeting. And then write the scene up while watching a soap or the footie.

If we can't multi-task then, I hate to say it, but we may have to make sacrifices. Sometimes to get what we want, to be a good screenwriter, it may mean cutting back on other things we like and enjoy. Do you really need to watch every episode of Big Brother and the Big Mouth and the Little Brother? Will one hour do in the pub instead of five hours? Can you make love to your partner for five minutes instead of an hour? I've cut down sex to one minute. It's easy!

The most important work anyway, is now, in the planning. Normally my pre-writing stage takes ages and the actual writing is quite quick as I've worked all the problems out before the dialogue stage. This is an opportunity to just give myself a week for that first stage and just get cracking. The plan isn't written in stone and so can be changed for the better as the 14 days roll by but some sort of structure is important or you're more likely to get stuck in the middle and give up. If you know where you're going it's easy. Well relatively. It's the difference between finding a place you've never been to before with a map or without one, I think.

The main reason why we may be reluctant to try is the fear of failure but who says your first draft has to be perfect? Even if, in the unlikely event, that first draft is the worst thing ever written the experience and knowledge you would have gained from planning a script and finishing a script will be immense. We learn by doing. Sure books and brilliant websites like mine are useful but there's nothing like quill meeting parchment for gaining skills in screenwriting.

I've printed off all the good preparation stuff on the 14 day site and I'm going to print off some of what Billy Mernit has said on Living the Romantic Comedy and just work hard on getting a good story together. It hasn't got to be best thing ever and I'm going to try not to give a flip about other rom-coms and how they worked or failed. I want this script to be about what interests me not what I think will sell.

Good luck everybody!


Lucy said...

Sex in one minute?? That is so wrong. Do you know how much damage you can do to a woman in one minute of sex?? We're talking nine months of hell followed by 8-20 hrs of more hell. You can at least ensure she ENJOYS it first!!! Shame on you!

I do however agree with you... And I WOULD do the challenge just to get away from Big Bro and The World Cup. In fact, I'm feeling left out : (

Optimistic_Reader said...

The World Cup being on is actually going to help me a great deal - I share the PC with my football obsessed other half, who of course won't want to go on the internet or play computer games.

Robin Kelly said...


I feel so guilty now, it never even occured to me to ensure the woman enjoys it as well. In my defence it's not that I'm a lazy selfish get just interested in my own needs, it's that I'm a hapless innocent victim of a sexist society.

Lucy said...

Hmmm, too true. You are a man after all, so I spose you can't help it.

BTW, cos I'm feeling left out, I have started a mini-14-day-challenge over on my site!

Optimistic_Reader said...

Only a few hours to go now... All the best with your rom-com!

Robin Kelly said...

Good luck to you too, Ops. See you at the Oscars. (See, I can be optimistic too!)

Lee said...

I completely agree with your philosophy (write something you enjoy, not draw sex out - I mean cut it down - to a minute). Forget markets, forget budgets, just steam ahead and write the coolest stuff you can.