Can you write a screenplay in 12 days?
Short answer: yes.
If you want to become an idea-generating machine.
If you want to take an idea to a completed first draft in under two weeks.
If you want to master storytelling.
If you want to be able to rewrite your own work with authority.
If you want to be a better writer then read on.
Why are sitting on the idea for that killer script?
You know the one.
The one you have been saying you are going to write for years now.
You have it all planned out in your head.
In fact, you have it filmed and finished already.
You see it all, lights, camera, action!
But here’s the problem.
It’s still in your head.
There’s a saying “If it ain’t on the page, it ain’t on the stage.”
The first thing you need when it comes to making your film reality is a script.
What is stopping you from making your dream script a reality?
Let me guess you are waiting for things to be just “right”.
I know the feeling. Have been there myself many times over the years.
Can I let you in on a secret?
Things will never be just “right”.
Now maybe you’re reading this thinking, “Duh, of course, things will never be just right,” If that’s what you’re thinking you’re already a million miles ahead of me.
Who am I you’re wondering?
I’m a guy who made a film a decade ago, and I’ve been waiting for things to be just “right” to make my next one.
Of course, now I know things will never be just “right”. The pandemic made me think long and hard about this.
I asked myself the following questions:
Why was I taking so long to write scripts?
Why was I always trying to write the scripts I think I should be writing?
How come I never enjoyed what I was writing?
These were the questions I considered during the first part of lockdown. Then I made a decision. I was going to write a screenplay from start to finish. It was the only piece of writing that I was going to focus on.
How long does it take to write a screenplay?
It’s a trick question.
It can take as long as you want.
Writing and in particular, screenwriting has many myths surrounding the craft.
You could have to know how to ignore them.
I have read all the books I have finished video courses. Here is the thing, at a certain point, you have to sit down at the desk and write the script.
Why was I avoiding writing a script all this time?
Well, maybe you’re like me, and you can relate to this.
When the screenplay is in your head, it’s “perfect”. You know that you are a good writer and if you keep the script unwritten, then it can live on in your head. No one can criticise you, and you can avoid facing up to the fact that you might be less than perfect at times.
This is how I feel about myself. I was avoiding finishing projects. If the script stayed unfinished, then I was still a good writer.
There is only so long you can live in that denial.
A change had to be made.
I’ve walked the walk, and now I want to help you follow me.
Who am I? We’ll get to that first let me tell you what Write Your Screenplay in 12 Days can do for you.
Also, let’s kill some of the sacred cows surrounding screenwriting along the way. Even if you read this and decide that Write Your Screenplay in 12 Days is for later. At least dispel some of these myths you might take for facts.
Busting Screenwriting myths:
Screenwriting Myth #1 - You have to stay at the desk until you sweat blood.
Spending time at the desk is essential. However, you can do it much more efficiently. Write Your Screenplay in 12 Days tells you how to establish a writing habit and to log your progress. With Write Your Screenplay in 12 days you will only spend two hours maximum on writing.
Screenwriting Myth #2 - Formatting matters.
This is a form of gatekeeping. If your screenplay is fantastic. No one is going to turn round and say “I loved your screenplay. I was going to give you money to make it; however, your indentation was slightly off,”. I’ll tell you what screenwriting software I use and what makes it the top choice for writing your screenplay in 12 days.
Screenwriting Myth #3 - You have to spend months and years getting your script perfect
You can take months and years working on one screenplay, but why bother? I mean would you rather have 10 excellent screenplays across a decade or 1 perfect screenplay? Write Your Screenplay in 12 days will breakdown the fundamentals of rewriting so you will have something better than presentable by the end of the month.
Screenwriting Myth #4 - You have to a film nerd to write a screenplay
As a recovering film nerd, I can tell you that having extensive knowledge of films has yet to help me write a screenplay. In fact, transferring my screenwriting skills to copywriting and back again has been a more significant help. If you are a copywriter I have some news for you, you’ll find the fundamentals of screenwriting easy to implement.
Screenwriting Myth #5 - You have to wait for the muse you come to you.
If there is one Screenwriting myth or creative myth, I despise with all my heart, this is the one. Waiting for the muse and die of old age. How about multiple muses? Who says you have to wait for the muse? How about bringing the party to them. Write Your Screenplay in 12 Days will show you how you can generate mass ideas.
Screenwriting Myth #6 - You have to be passionate about each script
Do you? I mean it’s essential to at least be interested in what you want to write but passionate? It can work sometimes, but there are som many ideas out there. Sometimes you want to play the field. Sometimes it’s better if you and your story idea stay friends. Sometimes you can be friends with benefits. Eventually, you may want to settle down with one story idea. But how do you know when you have encountered “the one”?
Right now, the myths are out of the way to let me share some of the tips I used to help me write my screenplay in 12 days.
Tips to help you write your screenplay in 12 days:
How can you write a screenplay in 12 days?
At the start of May, I set myself a challenge to write a script in 18 days.
Spoilers I did it in 12.
In this post, I’ll break it down for you. I’ll share some of the techniques with you.
Hopefully, you’ll be able to to find something useful that will help you write a screenplay in 12 days.
10 quick tips for writing a script in 12 days
Tip 1: Write first thing in the morning
Now some of you may find this more straightforward than others.
I’m a night owl, so this took a bit of adjustment.
As soon as I got up, I went straight to my computer and wrote.
I would write in 25-minute chunks. What I would do is set a timer on my phone. Once the 25 minutes was up, I would stop writing. I’d take a break then do another 25-minute chunk.
Now here is where I fall down and where you can improve over me. I struggle when it comes to jumping back in.
What do I mean by that?
As in if I was more strict on my breaks I’d get so much more done, my break timer is set for 10 minutes however in the interest of transparency I would take longer on my break.
Tip 2: Log your word count
I’d log how many words I wrote.
It would take me about 4x25 minute chunks per day. If I did that, I would be able to hit my daily word count.
It’s essential to track your progress. Now I used to resist measuring my progress for the longest time. What a regret. Why? Because in the end, it has helped me write more words in a shorter space of time.
One of the great benefits is that you can work out roughly when you will have something done. You will know where you can push and challenge yourself.
Tip 3: Set a deadline
Set yourself a deadline. It has to be a deadline you know you can hit.
The deadline also had to challenge me. It wasn’t like, write a screenplay in one day. There’s no way I would be able to do that. I’d not hit my target, and it would frustrate me. I know what my capabilities are rough.
What’s the point of setting yourself up for failure?
Setting myself an impossible deadline wouldn’t help anyone.
At the same time, setting it for this time next year wouldn’t help either.
It would have to be realistic but challenging at the same time.
Even though I got the script completed within 12 days, I set myself an initial deadline for 18 days.
That was at the start of May. In total, I had to do 35,000 words. I set myself a word count of 20,000 words for the script itself.
The 5k and 10k were there just to help with the actual writing of the script itself.
Tip 4: Be Accountable
One thing that will help you write your script is being accountable. You know, state it in public that you are going to have the first draft of a screenplay completed by a specific date.
I’m a member of a few screenwriting groups on Facebook. One of the groups had a signup sheet. I put my name down, the name of the script and the date I would have it finished.
If you aren’t a member of any Facebook groups, you can put it somewhere public. Tell people about it somehow. Set up a Twitter account and tweet your intention.
It’s important you know there is evidence somewhere of you making a commitment. Making a commitment to writing your screenplay.
Tip 5: Be aware of your weakness
When you’re writing a script, it’s vital to know where you’re going to slow down. There will be points when you want to quit and give up.
Now if this is your first screenplay, you might be unaware of where is your quitting point.
For me, it’s precisely at the midpoint.
As I was writing as soon as I got close to page 60, there were those feelings.
Feelings of worthlessness and thinking I was rubbish.
Do you ever get those feelings?
Since I knew I was going to feel like this, I factored that into my deadline. And if you can work out where you slow down, then you can allow yourself a day off.
Tip 6: Long walks deep forests
Taking really long walks helped me immeasurably.
After I completed the writing for the day, I would take a two-hour-long walk.
I would leave my phone at home.
In fact, I left everything except for the key to the front door.
The intent was to forget about the script until the next day. At the same time, tire out my body.
I’m fortunate enough to be able to go to a nearby forest. I would walk deep in there, taking in the surroundings.
If you can take advantage of a walk in nature, do so, your brain and body will thank you.
Tip 7: Harness the power of affirmations
Now, this is probably the weirdest tip on the list. You can use it in conjunction with your long walks.
Now if you think I’m a weirdo,
A) You’re right.
B) I understand.
If you want to completely disregard this point, I totally understand.
You can use the walking time to reprogramme yourself.
Confession, I use affirmations quite a bit.
I would use that time in the woods to talk to myself and basically psych myself up for the next day.
Here’s what I would say to myself. Again I understand this is going to be pretty cringy. But I’m telling you this in the interest of transparency.
OK, here it goes.
So, I will be walking through the woods on my own. Remember, no phone. As I walk I will be chanting to myself, a kind of song,
“I am the greatest writer, I am confident,
I am healthy, I am fit,
I can achieve anything when I put my mind to it”
I feel really dumb sharing that with you, but there you go. The internet is forever.
Do I believe I am the greatest writer?
I did it to psych myself up. I had to keep telling myself “I’m the greatest writer”. Why? Well because otherwise, what is the point of writing a screenplay?
You have to believe in yourself and affirmations might just be what you need.
Tip 8: Keep going (even if it’s terrible)
Another thing that helped me was to keep ongoing. I kept pushing forward.
If something was bad, I ignored it and moved on.
Now I would make a note in the margin, but I would avoid changing anything in the actual script.
At this point, you are focusing on getting the first draft out there.
You need to be laser-focused on hitting your deadline.
Tip 9: Write now, think later
When I was writing the script, one of the things I wanted to do was reduce the thinking time.
I wanted to get on with the writing.
To cut down on thinking time, I had the screenplay all planned out. Bad Guys began as a 125-word synopsis. I would expand on that synopsis until I had 10k words.
The 10k words would act as a way to guide me through my own script.
Here in the synopsis stage, you can go nuts with thinking. Character backgrounds, world setting, you name it, go wild.
Go wild in the thinking phase because when you’re in screenplay mode, it is all about writing.
Tip 10: Write what you love
This one might feel a little obvious to some of you, but this is something I have learned recently.
Are you ready for this one?
You have to want to write the script.
You have to love writing this script. It has to get you fired up.
Briefly a bit about me: ten years ago I made a film called Deadville.
You might be thinking that I’ve been lazy ever since. That is far from the truth. I’ve been trying to make another film ever since.
I’ve been writing scripts that I feel like I should be writing. Scripts that I feel like they would be “right” for me to write.
At the same time, I have this other folder of fun scripts. Scripts that I would make if I things were perfect.
Let’s be real. Things will never be perfect.
Why was I waiting for something that would never happen?
So I said to myself: Kieran, write something you really want to write.
What a difference it made for me. I’m someone who loves to sleep in. Snooze the alarm until it’s comatose.
Well, something strange happened. I was so excited to work on this script a couple of days in I found myself beating the alarm.
The alarm tried to snooze me.
You know what I mean?
But for the first time in a while, I was wide awake and working away.
Before I knew it, I had a screenplay written in 12 days.
There you have it. Those are my tips for what you can do to write your screenplay in 12 days.
What can you do now?
Well if you read all this then would you mind purchasing Write Your Screenplay in 12 Days because you’re going to like what is included in there.
One thing you’ll find as well once you finish it is that you’re a much better writer than you give yourself credit for.
All the best, good luck with your script I’m excited to hear about what you can achieve.
Unlock your mind and full creative potential.
A screenplay is a discipline. You might be thinking that you’ll never make a film. Fair enough. Maybe this book is not for you.
If you purchase this ebook, you will realise that you can write a screenplay.
Follow me as I break down how I go from idea to full first draft of a script.
What’s in the course:
Write Your Screenplay in 12 days ebook
PLUS BONUS MATERIALS
-Bad Guys first draft unedited
-Bad Guy’s first draft edited so you can compare and contrast
-A Exclusive Word Count and Project tracker spreadsheet to help you stay on top of the game
- A sneak peek from my ideas files
- The Bad Guys Break Downs Summaries see how I went from 250 words to a 20,000-word first draft script so you can too
- How I wrote this book using my own structure guide
- Break Down Templates to help you plan out your own screenplay
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