Writing On Spec

An award caliber procrastinator discovers a new and dangerous pursuit to keep him from actually writing another script. Why another Blog? I love to talk screenwriting. I love to talk story. I live in Richmond, VA. It's almost easier to get produced than find another screenwriter here. We are the anti-LA.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Hitting the educational wall

I use Netflix and found that they have some interesting dvds in the "self help/special interest" section. Seems they have Syd Field's screenwriting workshop on dvd.

Wow. Cool. Ok. Let's rent it. Get on the 'extra very long don't hold your breath you could probably get pregnant and have a child before the dvd arrives' waiting list. It did take awhile too.


Finally arrives. Woohoo! Slam it into the player, hit play and there he is -- Syd Field. The guy who started it all (well, sorta - started the paperback avalanche that is the screenwriting section in Barnes & Noble anyway).

And 10 minutes in I'm yawning. It's not that the material isn't interesting or that he doesn't have a great plan. It's just that I've heard it all before (not his pitch specifically).

I've read over 50 books, see a few dvds/vhs tapes, been to seminars, the writer's group thing, etc. and what it comes down to is what I was told by a guy years ago.

At some point you have to stop reading and start writing.

Screenwriting isn't that mysterious. It's not rocket science, it's not magic, it's just writing. And rewriting.

So for those of you out there that are addicted to books, seminars, tapes, dvds and the like. After you've seen/attended 20 (and that's being generous), it's time to start writing and get some feedback on what you can produce.

I've come to enjoy the interview books most of all these days - the William Froug ones are particularly fun, but there are others. As writers typically are, screenwriters are a reclusive bunch and to get a peek into their daily lives and writing habits is always interesting. Often you get the opportunity to see their true personality, as opposed to what you see on screen or read in a script.

Time to git a writin'.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, you gotta write...still, helps to have SOME organizing principles...

Wednesday, May 24, 2006 at 11:31:00 PM EDT  
Blogger wcdixon said...

...and then rewrite...and rewrite again...I don't know of anyone who has sold the first draft that plinked off their fingers.

For me, the most beneficial books have been (and I'm dating myself here) David Mamet's 'On Directing Film', Linda Segers 'Making A Good Script Great', and Goldman's 'Adventures in the Screen Trade'...all the others were different but the same - oh yeah, the Froug interview books were also worth reading.

And you are right - its easy to keep searching for 'the secret' or 'the perfect rules' reading the books and watching the seminars and dvd's (I ordered that Syd Field dvd to show a writing class i was teaching - and was yawning as well...not because it sucked or was useless, but had heard most of it before) - but eventually comes down to writing it through, and then rewriting it, and so on...

Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 1:08:00 AM EDT  
Blogger MaryAn Batchellor said...

Sometimes, I think book addiction is an effort to force something that isn't there.

Monday, May 29, 2006 at 11:37:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Dave said...

I think it's often used as a crutch. For me, I can honestly say that I'm not comfortable in the public eye until I feel I've done my so called homework. Be it practice or education.

I've spent too much time on education (probably because I love it as well).

I would suspect that others tend to over educate due to a lack of belief in themselves and their ability.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006 at 10:58:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Adam Renfro said...

oh, man, I was most disappointed with Syd's video. or at least the first 15 minutes. I was asleep after that.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 5:24:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Syd's video has been at the top of my netflix list for 2 months (no joke). I think netflix has five of the dvds and is circulating them to all 500,000 screenwriters in LA. I'll be starting on rewrites by the time I get to watch the dvd.

Now that I think of it, I have his book next to my desk and I STILL haven't read it.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 10:43:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Dave said...

lol - man, I thought I had a long wait.

I did find that a good video was The Hero's 2 Journey's by Vogler & Hauge.

Probably more of the same stuff, but I found some interesting information that has allowed me to break the script up into smaller chunks.

Theoretically, it makes it easier. I have yet to prove it though.

Sure "seems" easier.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 3:55:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

did you notice if there was any other screenwriting themed dvds abailable?

Thursday, June 1, 2006 at 11:39:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Dave said...

No other screenwriting dvds at Netflix. They do have a "Storytellers" dvd I just rented though.

Thursday, June 1, 2006 at 10:09:00 PM EDT  

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