More Badass Screenwriting: Welcome To Hell

So you devoured my last post, and are now inspired to attempt to pull a script out of your ass for the May 1st Nicholl Fellowship deadline.

Good for you. Every advancement the human race has ever made has always started out with a crazy, half-baked dream (usually to get laid impress a chick.) Whatever your motivation, the reality of turning that dream into gold is always less about the sex and glory, and more about a huge sh*tload of hard work.

But you're a badass, right? You laugh in the face of hard work. Then kick it in the balls.

Again, good for you. You're ready to man up and do it.

But what exactly is hard work? We all know, at least in theory. But do you really? Do you have any concept of what you're getting into?

In an attempt to ward off those who don't really have the chops, and to encourage those who do, I thought a direct link into the screenwriting trenches, with a writer just as bat-shit crazy as you, would be beneficial.

Why do this, you ask?

Well, many people have talked about their process, but usually it's written after-the-fact, with calm and poise, distanced from the trauma that it is. How can you truly know what you're getting into, when all accounts are written after the tears, drunken rampages and razor blades are all forgotten? Lying in your own feces while crying for your mother is a detail often left out because, like childbirth or your prostate exam, these details are blocked out by your psyche or you'd never be able to do it again.

With this in mind, I threw a stone and hit several I searched high and low until I finally found someone crazy enough to actually attempt to make the Nicholl deadline by starting a script from page one. I promised him donuts in exchange for daily updates on his progress, and like any writer worth their mettle, he jumped at free donuts. He's chosen to remain anonymous for now in case he crashes and burns, but until then, he's promised a rare glimpse into the process as it happens.

For now, we'll call him Joe. Let's take a look at how Joe's doing so far...


Single Screenwriter: Hey Joe, how's it going?

Joe: Not too bad. I've outlined the concept and I've got some killer opening pages.


Single Screenwriter: Hey Joe, how's it going?

Joe: I'm f*cking brilliant! I just came up with an Act One turning point that's gonna explode people's brains. I'm f*cking awesome.

Single Screenwriter: So you've written Act One?

Joe: Hell no! It was so unbelievably awesome that I had to celebrate. Now get off the phone so I can write already!


Single Screenwriter: Hey Joe, how's it going?!

Joe: I can't sleep. I can't make it work. It's so cool, but it doesn't work. How do I make it work?!

Single Screenwriter: I dunno, Joe. You haven't told me the concept or the problem.

Joe: Haven't you been listening?! The problem is it doesn't work!!! Wait... Shut up! I think I figured it out. You're fucking awesome, Single Screenwriter!


Single Screenwriter: Uhhh, is Joe there?

Some Random Chick Who Answered The Phone: He's locked himself in the bathroom and won't come out!

Single Screenwriter: Does he have his laptop or a pen and paper in there?!

Random Chick: No! He ran over his laptop with the car! Do I call the cops?!

Umm... We'll check in on Joe in a few days. In the meantime, stop reading this blog and get back to writing. That script isn't going to write itself!

And for those of you who want to add yet another project your already obscenely full plate, (or for those of you who aren't stupid enough to even try, or for those few ass kissers brilliant writers with already finished scripts looking to get to the next project), check out The Academy of Film Writing's 3 page contest. Three pages. That's it! Three pages of sheer genius is all it takes to win free tuition to an AFW class. (Don't even pretend to know pain and agony until you've taken any one of the offered courses and come out the other end a much better writer.) Even I want a free AFW class!

Don't think I'm going to suggest it to Joe right now though.

Damn good photo by country_boy_shane