How’s the movie coming?

One of the painful parts of being a screenwriter is trying to answer the question, “So, how’s your movie coming along?” From the outside it might appear that once you’ve gotten an agent, or optioned a screenplay, or had something purchased, it’s all downhill, right? I’m here to tell you, it’s still the bottom of the hill.

Often the screenwriter doesn’t know what’s happening with the work they’ve optioned or sold, which might seem strange, but if you’re going into the business, you should know that not knowing might be part of the deal. I love the director and producers with whom I’m currently working. They try to keep me up-to-date and involve me as much as possible, but I’m sure giving me play-by-play also seems an unnecessary effort on their part.

Why do I need to know? On some level, I understand that there are parts of the filmmaking process in which I do not need to participate. Would I like to cast the film? Sure. Do I have an opinion about locations? Absolutely. Am I the most qualified person to do those tasks? Probably not.

There have been times when I felt like I was the most qualified person to translate the idea from writing to film and, in those situations, I directed and produced the work. Most often, though, I didn’t get into screenwriting to direct or produce. I love the challenge of trying to tell a story within the boundaries of the screenwriting style. That’s why I’m here.

The key to surviving the not knowing is to move on. Quickly. Seriously, don’t let the ink dry on your contract before you start your next masterpiece. It helps so that when someone asks how your movie is coming along, even though you might not have an answer, you can talk all day about your newest work.

Do The Work

I love first drafts. They contain so much promise. Maybe this time, this story will be the one. The one people love, the one I love, the one that moves me from the designation of emerging writer to professional writer. First drafts allow me to dream and not worry about a clunky sentence or the random adverb that I know will have to be cut later.

Rewrites are the true work of a writer. Any doubt that enters into a writer’s brain about talent and ability happens during the process of a rewrite. The days of dreaming are gone, now’s the time to get your act together.

I’m in the process of a rewrite and, as usual, the thoughts that make me want to run for the door drift just below the surface of my skin. I try to temper them with the positive accolades that I’ve received, but I know I’m only as good as the sentence I’m working on at this very moment.

I’ll do the work. Because I have to do the work. Because it’s how I want to spend my day and nothing feels quite so satisfying as putting words on the page.