My scriptwriting strategies for 2012

It is a little late to write down a list of resolutions for 2012, I know. But this has been the way the year started for me. I was on vacation for first two weeks which was followed by a hectic apartment shift and some heavy duty academic stuff by the side. I still have not picked up all the pieces. But I am on my way.

So why bother with this post? Let me tell me, putting down in public my strategies and commitments for the year and updating about them from time to time (1,2,3,4) has been one of the smartest things that I did last year. There was a steep climb in my writing curve. Also it gave a certain direction for the whole year.

To summarise last year in writing:

The plan-

I realised that rather than spending too much time on networking, I should concentrate on building up a body of work. What is the point of talking with a stakeholder if you really have nothing worthwhile to offer him?

Output-

I increased my productivity by putting consistent checks on the net and pretty much everything else. My page count doubled compared to previous year.

My short film thriller script ‘The search’ was bought by a filmmaker friend in Canada and we developed it further together. His previous short film has been to Cannes. Hopefully ‘The search’ is going to get made this year.

Co-written adaptation of a Malayalam film for a Bollywood director who already has 2-3 credits is getting some eyeballs. Another co-written thriller script which we had set up as an indie project has covered some ground after around one year.

Failures-

Restrictions on the net and the lack of mobility due to my current work cut down my networking dramatically. And even though I was very productive, I took up too many ideas/projects to work on in parallel. As a result, number of completed projects are still very less.

Now coming to this year, I will have to keep in mind certain ground realities. First of all, my tenure where I am working is for one more year. So in a way, I am limited in my mobility for one more year. Until next year, I should probably use the stability of this period for more output in terms of writing.

Actually it is interesting that despite all these talk and work and talk about work, I have not really met face to face with many filmmakers or producers. I have contacted some prominent movers and shakers in the industry through messages and emails and have even pitched some ideas with permission. To my surprise, I got an encouraging response in general. A well renown director even invited me to meet him. A ‘mega’ star wanted to know more about a pitch. But I had nothing more than a pitch. By the time I reverted back with something of a treatment, it was too late. That was when I realised that I should go back to my drawing board and do my home work first. If your cookies are good enough, it is not tough to get the customers.

Now I have to gradually get into the ‘pilot phase’ of ‘physical’ meetings this year. I have been thinking about how to do networking this year in a calibrated manner where I can measure the effort and time I am putting in. I agree that networking is a very fluid, spontaneous, unpredictable process largely dictated by chance and luck. Nothing happens for a long time and then some unexpected breakthrough happens. But still I need a crude measuring scale because it is time consuming and I have to balance it with actual writing for the entire year.

Another issue is about ‘being productive in a productive way.’  You have to have some finished goods with you rather than many half baked ideas. Also it may be more time effective to develop an idea with some one who is interested in it rather than developing multiple ideas in spec.

So these are the plans for the year:

-I would continue with a very successful strategy from previous year. I will not be accessing the net (except for checking mail) until I get 2.5 hours of writing done in a day. After march, I may get a little bit more busy with my job due to change in posting. So at that point, I may have to re-evaluate this goal if not working out. But I hope it won’t be necessary. Also there is a change this year. I want to introduce some incentive for working way beyond this cut off. If I write for more than 4 hours a day, within the same week, I can use the extra time spent beyond that to fill the 2.5 hour quota on another day.

-Regarding networking, this is what I have decided to do. I would be reaching out to at least two persons related to film industry every week either through sms or email (run people run!). I wont pitch anything but would be just trying to up the ‘have heard that name’ quotient. 10 minutes per day will be spent for working on this (separate with the 2.5 hour writing quota). I also want to initiate the face to face meetings but I don’t want to commit on it here because it depends on lot many factors related to my work which is currently out of my control. Let’s just say that I would be actively trying to do it according to the opportunities available.

-So how much do I plan to accomplish during this period? I plan to have 3 completed screenplays and 6 completed treatments by the end of the year. No, this is not unrealistic. I have already done some patchy work on a very small fraction of these projects. I just need to complete those and of course I will have to start some from scratch.

-Also every 3 months, I will come up with a new innovative method of promoting my writing/pitches/self and apply it. After the initial period every year, I have this tendency to fall into a rut in terms of things I am trying to do. I become obstinate rather than really persistent. As Nietzche said, most of us are persistent with our way, not with our goal. So I would be doing resuscitation on myself at least every 3 months.

-Another aspect I would be concentrating on is trying to stick to my deadlines. With writing, it is often difficult to stick to deadlines. There is always room for improvement. But still I need to learn to accurately calculate how much a writing task is going to take and then make sure it happens within that time. Otherwise it is complete anarchy and clutter on the work table. So I will be closely observing the number of estimations every month where I got it right and where I got it wrong.

-Finally I would be updating on these goals at least once in 2 months. Let’s see whether I have bitten off more than what I can chew.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Ashutosh Karkhanis

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3 thoughts on “My scriptwriting strategies for 2012

  1. As a young french screenwriter, I just want to thank you. Your post is highly inspirationnal for other screenwriters. You’ve got a great amount of self-discipline ! I’m jealous … in a way ! Keep up the good work !

  2. Hi Yacine,
    I am glad to hear that the post inspired you in some way. In a way, I am paying forward all the advice and information and inspiration I myself found in the net. But putting down targets and meeting them is one thing. One still needs a certain amount of magic and grace from the universe to be the right man at the right time and place…

  3. Pingback: My script writing strategies for 2012: first update | Who wrote my screenplay?

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