Writing at Christmas

Happy Holidays to everyone. I hope your enjoying the festivities. I thought I would write a quick message before we get into the final two weeks before Christmas. Christmas shopping, parties and travelling to visit families leaves little time for writing. I love to sit down and hack away at the keyboard daily but with a trip to Ottawa last weekend and Christmas Shopping and a trip to Oshawa this weekend, I don’t think I’ll get much hacking time this weekend and with the release of the Hobbit this weekend it’s going to be a busy weekend.

Last night I was up until midnight reading the script Looper by Rian Johnson’s. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but after reading the screenplay I feel like I’ve seen it. The screenplay was very well written and enjoyable. I paid extra attention to his techniques and format of the actual appearance of the screenplay. Descriptions were small, no more than three or four sentences. The slug lines were clean and the sub-slug lines were well used. A beautiful screenplay. I look forward to watching this film once released on DVD. If you can find a copy of a recent screenplay read it, absorb it and learn from it. Make sure you learn something from every screenplay you read. I learned the different type of slug lines.


Heigh ceilings, big clean window overlooking a sooty city.

Joe finishes smoothing out an oriental rug and scoots a coffee 
table in place over it.

Puts a bepop LP on the turntable.


On the bed, shooting at the ceiling with his fingers

In the past I would have written a new log line for Joe’s apartment and then put in the description that it is now later in the afternoon, or early evening. Rian Johnson’s screenplay has taught me how easily and cleanly transitions in like locations can be and at the same time they don’t pull you out of the story. When you look at the screenplay clip above you can see that the exact time the scene on the bed is up to the director. The first scene in the apartment takes place in the afternoon so later could be later in the afternoon or into the night. I won’t know what the director decided on until I see the movie.

If you don’t have time to write over the holidays than read. Read screenplays or books about screenplays or books on writing in general. Always keep learning that’s what will take you from a beginner to a professional screenwriter. Read and learn. My plan is to find and read three more screenplays before the end of the year and to learn at least one thing from each of those screenplays.

Another way to make sure you get something finished is to keep your active projects to a minimum. Right now I’m working on the planning the storyline for my ‘Family House’ screenplay, I’m starting to rewrite the Workshop and turn the series of quick blog posts into a book by the end of 2013, this includes an example screenplay. And today at work I started writing some thoughts and notes about a new project that will sit on the shelf for a couple of months. I heard you, focus on one project. Well, I’m happy to announce that one project comes to a close next week. I’ll be posting the December Workshop blog about rewriting and trying to sell your screenplay. I’m just completing the final edit. Yes, I’m editing this one. I’ve been reading some of the old workshop entries and the spelling is terrible.

If I don’t get another post up before the end of the year, I wish everyone of my readers a very happy new year.

– Steve


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