The Bag Means Your Mind

A delightful mix of insightful comments and ignorant assumptions about screenwriting... and such.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Act II - The Long Road

I've finally moved out of Act I land (well, a couple days ago). I'm averaging around five pages a night. I find myself rethinking too much and not just writing what I have. That’s good because I’m thinking on the fly and coming up with some good stuff. It’s bad because one of my reasons for doing an exhaustive outline was to write it really fast. Is five pages per three hour session fast? It is what it is.

Act I is about 37 pages. I know that doesn’t conform to the screenwriting manifesto that stipulates that the first act must end on page 30… or else, but those self-important screenwriting harlots can kiss my narrow black butt* two times.

Now it is on to the desert of Act II, the Bataan Death March of screenwriting. With any luck, I’ll emerge from it relatively unscathed and ready to head into Act III. I’ve got a huge list of scenes and am frightened that Act III might not start until page 140. It’s easier to whittle down than to build up I suppose.

How many pages do you average per session?


My friend Ryan sent me a write up on Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki. He has made several films, some of which have brought him acclaim. He had this to say about writing screenplays:

“In the old days I would write a script during a weekend, now I have become lazy, so it will take me almost a week. But the story line, and the characters – already cast – have probably been working in my subconscious for a year. I simply connect it to a printer, and there is the screenplay. It is all very convenient.”

After slaving over my current story for many moons, I have only this to say:

Fuck Off!

*I am not black, but my butt may be narrow considering that I don’t have one (both of my legs connect directly to my back).


  • At 1:02 AM, Blogger Patrick J. Rodio said…

    Not sure if I have an average. some nights I'll only get 1 or 2 done, most I ever did in one night was 26 to be exact.

    For the pilot I'm working on, the other night I did 14 which I was happy about. Even better, after I handed in those 14 pages to the producers - they loved it!

  • At 1:37 PM, Blogger Thomas Crymes said…

    14 pages... and they liked them. You must have been in the zone

  • At 3:08 AM, Blogger Patrick J. Rodio said…

    I was it felt good - nothing like finishing a bunch of pages and you're actually happy with them!

  • At 3:23 PM, Blogger Brett said…

    I think it's dangerous to get too hung up on "pages." The important thing, IMO, is to keep making progress. Some days the words are going to flow, and other days your biggest victory will be to finally find the perfect word for some particular sentence which has til then just been laying there, lifeless.

    To put it in football terms, sometimes you fight just to make the two hardest yards you'll ever see, while other times you're eating up ground in huge gobbling strides, trotting free and easy with no defenders in sight.

    Keep the legs moving, fight for every damned inch you can, stay healthy, pray for luck.

    Lather rinse repeat.

  • At 11:48 PM, Blogger Patrick J. Rodio said…

    Brett's right, I certainly don't sit down and say I HAVE to write 5 or whatever pages, if it comes, it comes. you can't force it, 'cause if you do, it will suck.

  • At 8:54 AM, Blogger Thomas Crymes said…

    I agree with both of you.

    I guess I'm saying that I'm happy that being prepared meant that I could write five pages on average in a productive way.

    I won't ever sit down and say that I need "X" number of pages on a given night.

    Unless someone is paying me and I'm against a deadline. Then all bets are off.

  • At 1:54 PM, Blogger Patrick J. Rodio said…

    Good Point Crymes

  • At 3:46 AM, Blogger Systemaddict said…

    Page counts are scary. Some people like to put it down as a stamp of their 'work'.

    Fact remains, good work is good work and bad work is bad work.

    Doesn't really matter if it takes 1 day or 100 long as it's good. (deadlines aside)


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