Pages 1-10: Hey, I’m writing a script! I LOVE this new idea. All of that thinking and research and theme-finding I’ve been doing while walking Lucy or driving on LA’s endless freeways is finally falling into place. I’ve been percolating over this dynamic opening scene – how can you go wrong having an explosion in Paris? – and look at how cool it is on the page! And how about that inciting incident? A SUICIDE?!? It doesn’t get more compelling, right? I’m feeling it. I’m in the zone. This is gonna be the BEST. SCRIPT. EVER.
Pages 11-30: Wow. My lead character is a bad ass. He’s edgy, prickly, and…dare I say it? Unlikeable. But that will change. He’s really a decent guy at heart. ‘Cuz mercenaries can still be decent, right? And how about these other characters? They’re three-dimensional, complex…not your run-of-the-mill cutouts. Except the sullen teenage son. Hmmmm….not sure I’ve figured him out yet. No big deal, though. It’s only the first act. This is the set-up, the meeting of the characters. No need to put too much pressure on myself.
Pages 30-50: Shit. I have to figure out that teenage son. He’s gonna be pretty integral, isn’t he? And now I’m wondering about the opening in Paris. Sure it’s dynamic, but the rest of the script takes place in Smalltown, U.S.A. so maybe I’m misleading the audience into thinking this is some sort of spy thriller. And speaking of Smalltown, U.S.A, should I figure out exactly where the hell this story is set? Uh oh. Maybe I should spend a few hours making a playlist on iTunes that will serve as my writing soundtrack? Yeah, that’s a good use of my time!
Pages 50-60: Whew! I think I have a handle on the son. But why have I set his early scenes in school? Clearly this story should take place during the summer. Okay, I’ll go back later and revise the INT. HIGH SCHOOL scenes and reset them at the neighborhood pool that is now a main set from this point forward.
Pages 60-70: Damn, these characters blather on a lot. Perhaps that’s because I’m not quite sure where they’re headed? Why is the ending so much fuzzier than the beginning? Lots to contemplate. Maybe if I do a load of laundry that will get the creative juices flowing? And my room needs to be vacuumed. Do I need to make more ice cubes? When was the last time I cleaned the kitty litter?
Pages 70-79: Losing. Will. To Write.
Page 80: What’s that? A light at the end of the tunnel. Page 100 is only twenty pages away. I’M ALMOST THERE!
Pages 81-90: Still haven’t fully realized the ending. But new scenes are falling into place. I’m comfortable with these characters now. The story is going to go beyond page 100, but I’d rather have to cut pages than have to flesh out an anemic screenplay. (At least that’s what I tell myself to feel better.)
Pages 91-99: Character motivations are intensifying! The conflict is rising! My iTunes playlist is fueling my writerly momentum! With fruity martini in hand, I’m gonna plow through these last mothertruckin’ pages so I can put the nail in the final page.
Page 100: BOOM. Victory. (Although not quite FADE TO BLACK.)
And then…the revising starts.