There are times when the writer may get sick of their work. Or they may find the screenplay story structure that they are working on too boring. So, the question arises, when should a screenwriter step away from a project?
Let’s see what Mikhael has to say about when writers should step away from their screenplay.
Leaving A Project For Good
In simple words, the writer will have to say goodbye to a film script format for good if they don’t see its potential. What’s wrong would be to throw away a project that has potential but the writer just doesn’t want to do it. It would be dumb to throw away a financially viable project. Writers should only consider stepping away from a screenplay story structure for good when they cannot see any value to it.
Stepping Away Because Of Negative Feedback
Is it okay for a writer to discard a project that they really liked but decided to quit due to the force or outside sources?
The answer to that would be no. The decision to step away from a script is personal and intuition-based. If writers start relying on the opinion of everyone else, then they may not have a very promising future. Frankly, writers just have to trust their gut. Now, this doesn’t mean that they should ignore every feedback on their screenplay structure. If the feedback comes from someone that the writer trusts, then it’s probably worth looking into. Similarly, comments from successful people in the industry should also be given attention.
However, in this industry, it is important to be able to trust your gut. If the writer doesn’t listen to their intuition, then they will easily be ushered into the pack of other sheep even if they are really talented. No one stands out when part of a sheep herd. And anyone who wants to do well in this industry wants to stand out. So, always stick to your gut.
It’s okay to step away from a film script format when the writer feels sick of it. This can happen at any stage of the writing process. But when the thought comes that,” Hey, I’m getting really sick of this really quickly”, then it’s acceptable to step away from it.
It’s an internal choice that the writers make for themselves. It’s important for writers to feel excited about the screenplay structure that they are doing. No one wants to sign up for the project unless the writers themselves are excited about it. The writer cannot expect anyone to be enthusiastic about their script if they are apathetic towards it.
View Your Script As A Product
There are circumstances where the notes are really good. If the writer is working with a director who isn’t a writer himself, then their opinion will hold more value. Sometimes they need to be told that their vision of the film script format will not work. They will trust the opinion of someone who is in script development or is a producer-writer.
So, for those types of people, writers need to listen to what people are saying to them. Look at the notes with a grain of salt and always follow your intuition. It’s a tough hill to climb, the hill being able to get over the personal feelings about your screenplay structure.
Writers treat their screenplays like a baby, and they always seek validation for it from other people. Many writers go through this phase where they need to hear from other people that their work is good. However, at some point, they need to be able to approach their writing as a product. Can they put it on shelves? Will people want to buy it? This is a part of the mentality transformation in the script development masterclass and the mentorship that SAN preaches.
Writers need to start looking at their material from a specific type of angle as a business person. Once writers are able to do this, then they will start understanding objectively whether they should break away from the material or not. There are a lot of writers in the industry but very few are in the business. This will allow the writers to start being honest with themselves and they can separate the producer hat from the writer hat.
Temporarily Stepping Back
Everybody needs to learn to step back from their screenplay story structure when it is difficult to get the flow going. And that’s also a skill. Part of writing is obsession where the writer is obsessed with the film and their writing. When the writer is obsessed with their writing, that’s when you know that they are having fun. They just want to be immersed in it. And it takes a lot of effort to be able to pry yourself away from the material. Writers need to force themselves to disconnect from the story and take a breather.
Screenwriters have to view their script from a fresh perspective after a spurt of writing. It is important to take a break because you will find that the writer forgets most of the scenes in the screenplay story structure that they wrote during the spurt. So, coming back to the script after clearing their mind allows them to actually see the plot and not just their writing.
Being married to ideas is a disease for your story. Therefore, it’s essential for the writer to completely disconnect from the script for a short while. It’s a brutal thing to be married to an idea. So, make sure that you go in with a clear head and proper prep work. Proper prep work will free up the creativity in the writer’s mind and the writing process will be very smooth. But then, the writer takes himself away on a little mini-vacation to pry himself away from it. Approaching the script from a fresh perspective is a huge part of the creative process. Without it, the writer will have a tunnel vision and may end up going to some bad creative places.
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