14 July, 2007

Do Something Different

Screenwriter and creativity coach, Jurgen Wolff, talks about 'the overnight success line' and how screenwriters should set goals in this Screenwriters Network video.

1) Set desired outcome - What's my goal? What do I want to achieve?

2)Take action
- What action do you need to take in order to do that?

3) Assess results - Are you getting the feedback? Are you starting to get the results you want?

4) Do something different - If you're not, and this is the crucial step, do something different, don't keep doing the same thing.

This is really the key, so often we focus on a strategy and we try it and it doesn't work and the lesson we draw is "I must do it harder", "I must do it more frequently", when oftentimes the real lesson is "I must try something different".


This is something I've noticed where some writers will quickly write a plot-driven story with no thought for creating good characters, it will get rejected and then they will repeat the same cycle again and again until they burn themselves out and give up.

It can be a hard cycle to break out of though - certainly no writer I've talked to about it and offered to help, has stopped doing it before burning out and giving up. Although that could be more to do with my lack of persuasive skills.

Binkie's post partly explained why this happens and I also realised that some writers are rushing to get, what they think is, their "unique idea" to production before someone else does. And when it's rejected they blame the idea or the reader for not recognising a good idea. And then when someone else has the same idea and spends the time investing in character and story to make it successful enough to get produced, the writer will accuse the network of "stealing their idea" from the first draft script they submitted.

See the pitches here to see just how one good idea can be done well or badly depending on how much time is spent on thinking about story and character.

I think rather than spend two months doing two bad scripts, it's better to spend two months doing one good script. Even someone taking 12 months to write one good script will be more successful.

The next Red Planet Prize Project post will be up soon.


Pillock said...

'The next Red Planet post will be up soon'

Looking forward to it.

Robin Kelly said...

Cheers, Pill.

Andy Conway said...

Thanks for the link, Robin. I was really glad I caught this session. Jurgen turned out to be a much more witty and accessible person than I expected (I don't know why, I expected him to be very dour).

He really was very funny and one of those speakers in whose company you delight to be.

I'd intended to grab him for a Shooting Screenwriters audio podcast interview but it never happened. Hopefully we'll do it sometime soon. I think he's got a lot of knowledge to impart.