Category Archives: Creative Journey

Creative Goal: Writing a Screenplay in a Week (or Less)

Photo by Jazmin Quaynor on Unsplash.

Have you ever wanted to write a screenplay some day? I do!

I’ve been wanting to write a screenplay forever. I’ve started one at least a couple times, but then stopped and never finished. Ugh!

I think my tendency towards perfectionism just makes we want to scrap something all together if it’s not working or gelling from the get-go, instead of putting in earnest continuous work to improve it. Also, I have a tendency to want to work solo because I have a weird hang-up about sharing work in progress (and being judged or critiqued on something that isn’t yet complete… which is ultimately hilarious since my last couple — or even handful — of Fringe plays definitely weren’t complete when premiere time came). …Not a good hang-up to have when it comes to creative work!

Anyway, so, that all said… I’m working on a new screenplay! Pretty much starting today. I have the barest of bones laid out, not even enough for a full skeleton outline yet. But I don’t want to fall into a trap of endless procrastination and perfectionism.

My goal is to write an entire first draft of a full length screenplay within a week. i.e. to finish the first draft and not give up on it, even if I think it sucks… because hey, after the 1st draft is done, I can rework it several times over with subsequent drafts until I’ve got something awesome that I’m proud of. …Right!? 😉

I’ve been thinking about some of my past and favorite successes with writing, and my favorite experiences seem to have had a co-creative element to them AND a time-pressure element to them. For example, one time I participated in a short playwriting contest. It was called an “InstaPlay” playwriting contest. We were given 90 minutes or so if recall, as well as a handful of elements to include (like a theme, or number and sex of the characters, and a phrase to include somewhere). Since I had self-produced my own work before, I asked if I qualified for the “Produced Playwrights” category (which is akin to the professional playwrights category). Apparently I did. So I entered that category! And even though I was competing against other “real” local playwrights that had their work produced by at least one of the major professional theatre companies in my hometown, I ended up winning first place! That was a while back now, but I was pretty pleased with the experience and it inspired me with the idea to someday write something full or feature length for professional production.

Another of my favorite playwriting experiences also involved a time-pressured deadline in the form of a 24-hour contest, and I believe we were given themes and requirements at the beginning of the 24 hour writing period as well.

In both situations I had the opportunity to see others perform and direct a stage-reading of my short plays, and both times I was quite thrilled with the results.

Anyway, I share all the above as background for a new project I’d like to undertake…

I’d like to write/create a full-length screenplay by giving myself a relatively short timeframe in which to complete the first draft.

Why do I want to do this? I think the only way I’m going to finally (and satisfactorily) write and complete a screenplay is to write one FAST, at least when it comes to the first draft. Some might say a month is a short period of time to write the first draft, but honestly, I don’t think that’s enough time pressure for me. I need something even more challenging to really fuel me.

Sylvester Stallone wrote Rocky in just a few days, and it went on to win an Academy Award for Best Picture! Of course, it was just the first draft that was written in a few day, and according to one article I read, “Only about 10 % of that first Rocky script remained in the finished version of the film that would go on to win the Best Picture Oscar.” Even so, I think that’s the kind of start I need to get going.

I think it’d also be better for me to write the first draft somewhat “sloppily” in terms of formatting, because I don’t want the various aspects of the technical formatting that screenplays have to follow to bog me down and slow my writing / creative process. …I can always go back and reformat after. I have a copy of Final Draft that I purchased a while back, but I find it to be less than intuitive and having to fiddle with the different formats for each element of a screenplay can really hinder my creative process and flow.

Well, I better get to it! …If anyone wants to offer encouraging support throughout the next week or check up on my progress via comments on this blog, please do! 

 xox

p.s. I still want to delve deeper into places of vulnerability for the purpose of clearing blocked energy for ideal creative flow, but that will be put on hold for now while I work on this project.

p.p.s. If you’ve been following my blog recently, you may also recall that I mentioned I’d like to start a video/vlog-challenge sometime in the earlier part of this year. And… that plan is totally still on! I believe I will start that challenge somewhat soon… probably in a week or two (*after I finish the first draft of this screenplay). So: Stay tuned for that!!! 

 

🙂

The Myth of Perfection: Learning the Art of Risk & Surrender

Photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash.

Art and creativity are fascinating enigmas. An artist strives to create something beautiful (or sometimes ugly), or meaningful, or touching, or layered, or shallow, or simple, or complex, or elegant, or chaotic, or critical, or maybe even (somehow) all of the above. But what happens when the end result is received in a way that doesn’t match up with the artist’s intention?

Art is, essentially, a form of communication. It is the artist’s expression of some thought or message, whether simple or complex, in physical form— even if that physical form is temporary, such as is the case in theatre or performance art. (Then again, even a painting or sculpture is, ultimately, temporary.) However, because communication via art is indirect and therefore has an inherent abstractness woven into it, there is a non-zero chance that the artist’s message will not be fully understood, or misunderstood, or even missed entirely.

This is the risk of all art, taken by all artists. We cannot control how our art will be perceived by others. Through art, there is no guarantee of perfect communication, and therefore risk is an innate element of all artistic expression.

This element of risk might give some people the message that perhaps it’s better to give up before even starting, since there’s no guarantee that “success” can be achieved.

But ah… guaranteed success is not the pure purpose behind art. Is it? (If it is for you, I might suggest you re-examine your inner “why” which drives you to create.)

I believe art exists for its own sake, and we can benefit from it in a multitude of ways, independent from the successful (or even unsuccessful) communication of the artist’s intended message upon the receiver/viewer/audience.

Art can open a dialogue between people or communities with opposing views. Art can inspire. Art can teach. Art can cause introspection and searching. Art may cause us to rise up and take action. Art may leave us in awe. Art may move us to laughter or tears. Art is sometimes emotional and cathartic. Art is sometimes mental and intellectual. It can be philosophical or it can be whimsical. It can be humorous or serious.

The potential of creativity and art is limitless.

There are so many overlapping themes between humanity and art, is it really such a far stretch to propose that humanity IS a work of art? Perhaps art and artistic expression is inherently an extension of our own humanity.

Working on one’s artistic or creative side is, therefore, very much akin to working on the development of one’s own person (i.e. personal development), and in turn, a piece of the puzzle of working on the betterment of humanity as a whole. In other words…

Being an artist has a noble, greater purpose beyond the myopic self. Artists help sculpt humanity’s present and future.

Not that’s certainly an inspiring reason to create! 😉 <3

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Because of the inherent nature of art’s relationship to risk, a good artist must ultimately learn the art of surrender.

…Surrender to the unknown, to the uncontrollable, and to the subjective world of experience and interpretation.

Learning to surrender, in both art and life, is something I’ve been working in and on myself.

One thing that has often held me back from diving deep into creative expression is tied to the element of control and the desire for perfection. I’ve learned that perfection, when it comes to art, is an illusion, and therefore I must surrender to that imperfection which exists in its place.

Done is better than perfect.

Create with love. …And let it go, with love.

Reflecting on the nature of and desire for perfection, perhaps it might even be rooted in a desire to evade criticism, judgement, or being misunderstood. If we create something perfect, we will (theoretically) be free from potential negative criticism and feedback, and we will be completely — perfectly — understood. After all, isn’t that something which all humans desire at our core: to be loved and understood?

But since perfection is essentially a myth in this subjective universe of art and creative expression, seeking perfect expression is a fruitless, impossible goal. I say this not to dissuade you or anyone from doing your best, but rather to free you from holding yourself to impossible and unrealistic expectations.

For example, I know this blog post is rather imperfect… perhaps it is overly verbose or rambling or meandering. It could probably use a bit more focus and structure.  But hey, it’s published! It exists in the world. And an imperfect something is better than a would-be perfect some-day maybe which never ends up seeing the light of day.

Embrace imperfection. Embrace your self. (Because yes, we are all perfectly imperfect.)

Embrace who you are today and share your unique perspective with this world, imperfections and all.

You are a unique work of art.

There will never be anyone else like you.

And, especially:

All things, your self and your art included, are inherently temporary in this medium of space-time reality.

…So, good or bad, who cares what the critics think? It’s all subjective and temporary anyway. 😉

xox

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