Rise and Shine – Screenwriting Success Tips for filmmakers
Getting up early and being consistent are two of the best things you can do for your screenwriting success.
Screenwriting success doesn’t come to those who sleep all day. As I’m sure you’ve heard self-help masters talk about the importance of getting up early. If you haven’t, allow me to introduce this concept to you. Getting up early is the one thing that can allow you to organize your life. It gives you more time to implement positive, life-changing scripts into your life-program before your day starts. Once your workday starts, your chances of getting that screenplay started goes to zero. You will be consumed by your work, family, tasks, etc. This is why it’s important to beat everyone else out of bed and get your day started early.
Every major accomplishment humanity has produced came from those who got out of bed when they didn’t want to. Think about it. That movie won’t make itself. That book won’t just write itself. That screenwriting success won’t happen just because you want it to. You have to get up and make it a reality. So where does all this fit into filmmaking? Allow me to offer this hypothetical.
Jane dreams of being a screenwriter and filmmaker. She’s got this amazing idea for a movie about birds. However, she works from 8:00am in the morning to 5:00pm everyday. By the time she gets home, she’s exhausted. She struggles to make herself dinner, let alone write a script or something. She has no time. To make matters worse, she’s got some health issues and fights fatigue.
What could Jane do to help herself find screenwriting success?
Well, let’s do some basic math.
If Jane’s clock-in time for work is 8:00am, this means she will need to leave her home roughly a half an hour before she starts, (or longer depending on the commute). So let’s say worst case, it’s an hour commute from the front door to the office. So this means she must leave her home at 7:00am to be at her desk and ready for work by 8:00am. Here’s some basic scheduling that might help Jane.
4:30 AM – Wake Up
5:00 AM – Basic Exercise for her health (stretching, walking, any movement)
5:30 AM – Coffee, quick breakfast
6:00 AM – Working on her new script
6:20 AM – Get ready for work
7:00 AM – Out the door
Now, it sucks thinking of 4:30 am as your wake up time, but in this scenario, this is the price Jane must pay to get her goals moving. Now, some of you may say “twenty minutes is NOT enough time to sit down and write a screenplay”, or “what if Jane can’t think or write during that time?” to both of those I say excuses, excuses.
First off, writing is like working out. The more you do it, the better, stronger and more proficient you become. Any author will tell you, the key to finishing a book is to write everyday. It doesn’t matter how long or how great it is, just keep writing! Same thing applies to writing a script. Any amount of time you sit with your screenplay is productive. This may include reading a scene you wrote the day before, or re-working dialog, or it might be creating a story outline. Whatever it is, over time, you eventually have something that looks like the first draft. Sometimes it’s complete garbage, but it will either offer you a foundation for improvement, or teach you something completely new. Either way its’ forward progress! Twenty minutes, ten minutes, it’s all the same.
The key here is giving yourself enough time before your day starts to work on your goal. You might find the nights work better for creativity. Same thing applies here. If you can’t find the strength to wake up early, then you better have a system in place after your regular day ends to work on YOU. Otherwise, that script will never get written, and you will continue to dream of being a filmmaker FOREVER!
In conclusion, I would encourage you to think about time management. Take your schedule seriously, and make asserted effort to give yourself more creative time in your day. By doing so, you will open up the possibilities of success in your career. After a while, these things become automatic and natural to you.
If you’re interested in discovering more tips for filmmakers, be sure to check out my books on Amazon!
Interested in more tips on filmmaking? Check out one of my past blog posts here.