Getting shit done (Part 1): Write a short film script

This is part one of a series of goals I want to accomplish. I have trouble seeing things through that I want to complete. The structure of this series is designed to hold me accountable and get the goddam thing done.

I tried writing a feature length movie script two years ago but it fell flat. I had nothing and no one holding me accountable. I still work on that script from time to time, but, at this rate, the script will never grow legs. It will never get done. More than sporadic bursts of motivation to write is needed to write a screenplay. I know this now.

I also know that I bit off more than I could chew by attempting to write a feature length script without any experience. I should have made the goal smaller. Completing a script for a short film would have been a more reasonable goal. I’m creating that goal today.

At this point in my life, I need to write something and see it through to completion, no excuses. Something small to start. Completing something small will give me momentum to accomplish what I need to accomplish to determine if I have the talent to be a screenwriter.

Movies are very special to me and I want to try to create one that’s special to others. Until I try, I’ll keep doing circles in my little wheel cage wondering what could have been.

Accountability

To complete my first short film script, I’m using the accountability application StickK.

I’m currently using a different application called Go Fucking Do It to build a morning exercise routine. It has been effective so far, but it’s a little too simplistic.

If you fail to achieve your goal with GFDI, the money you pledge just goes to the founder of the site. If you fail to achieve your goal with StickK, the money goes to a charity, an anti-charity, a friend, or a foe/friend. The choice is yours.

Here are some of the anti-charities you can pledge to. There are options for both open- and closed-minded people, liberals and conservatives.

Anti charities that StickK lists on its accountability site

I put my goal of writing a short film script on StickK and pledged $100. If I don’t complete the script by September 9, 2017, the money goes to an organization I don’t support: the National Organization for Marriage. This closed-minded organization opposes same-sex marriage and fights to keep LGBTQ rights out of legislation.

If I fail this goal, I become a supporter of this initiative. This can not happen. I can fail my goal of writing a short film script, but I can never support an organization like this. But, now, since each are intertwined, I must complete the short film script.

See how that works? Pretty effective.

Here’s my StickK journal for this goal. Feel free to follow along.

Goal

Write a short film script that is cool to me. The topic must get me excited and be related, in some way, to my life. It must also be formatted correctly and ready to submit by September 9, 2017 at 7pm.

Milestones

I’ll log my progress in the StickK journal. This section is just for laying out what I want to accomplish each week in order to hit my goal.

Week 1 – Create Foundation

This week is for idea generation and shorthand scene writing.

At the time of writing this, I’ve already started working on some scene ideas in a legal pad. I’ll continue using this legal pad for writing. Writing with pen and paper are a necessary respite from the work I do all day on a computer.

To keep my thoughts on track and make my writing efficient, I’ll create a beat sheet. This is a sheet, separated into three acts, that outline the scenes in each act. I’ll create this first and add it to the StickK journal. I’ll also create a logline. This is a one-sentence description of what a film is about.

Week 2 – Write all Scenes

This week I’ll put the writing from the legal pad into a Google Sheet and finish writing all the scenes on the beat sheet.

Week 3 – Bring Everything together

This week I’ll make edits to give the story flow. I’ll add scenes, remove scenes, and make the characters and actions as believable as possible.

Week 4 – Format and complete

This may be the hardest week. In addition to being the shortest week — I’ll only have until Saturday evening — formatting a screenplay is what I know the least about. A lot of reading and implementation will be required. There’s little room for creativity here. Everything is mechanical, more or less.

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