Okay. So what are people working on now? We’ve had a Ground Zero in the screenwriting business and it’s sink or swim. Some say it’s easier to sell a blockbuster than a small indie. Some say comedy sells to bring us out of our doldrums. At the end of the day, it’s a good story that sells, so hone your craft. Write what you want to see on the screen. Think visually. Images are the language of the screen.
Let’s get the ball rolling on where writer’s are at before they write that first word. For me, a recent experience, a newspaper article, or a film I’ve just seen gets my juices flowing. I also love reading those sections in the paper about human foibles. Next I come up with a premise. Right now, I’m working on an alien flick where my central premise is “that humans and aliens aren’t that different. We all have the same needs”. It’s a metaphor for racism. From there I create the main characters, and then a plot. Then I start writing. Unlike other writers, I don’t set myself a limited number of pages each day. If I’m on a roll, I can knock out 15-20 pages. If I’m not, I can write as little as 5. I don’t force myself to keep writing just to say that I have filled my daily quota. When I hit a roadblock, I refer to my central premise to lead the way. Every scene must somehow be infused with the central premise. I also reread what I’ve done to launch me into the next page. I know some writers never go back until they’ve finished the first draft. For me it’s too late. Then I go back and work on subplots. metaphor and culling dialogue. It’s called a polish. When I feel that I can do all I can, I let it lie fallow for at least a month and go back to it. This process takes me about 2 months. If you’re still stuck on the first act after a year, you’ve started writing too early. I can’t understand writers who spend years writing a script, but I can understand writers who spend years thinking about it before they write it.
TIP: When I block at a plot point, I either lie down or take a walk and order my imagination to fore. Your subconscious is a powerful tool. Use it. Nurture it.