10 Ingredients to Successful Screenwriting: Be Prolific

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We all struggle with the issue of quantity versus quality, but most of us do not fully appreciate how essential it is to be able to write a lot of material quickly. How much is enough? It’s hard to say, but a friend of mine once heard William Goldman say that a screenwriter needed to able to produce at least three solid pages a day. If you take that as a starting point, I think you’ll be on the right track.

One of the ways to do this is to keep many, many ideas in the pipeline. Woody Allen famously keeps a file full of story ideas. When he’s looking for an idea, he goes back to the file. Personally I like to surf the Internet and read magazines. I write down everything I think of in a notebook and, later, catalogue it by color. I also find it helpful to watch old movies and TV shows to see what was done in the golden age. I look for ideas that can be re-purposed with a modern twist.

prolificThe trick of course is to keep writing, every day, no matter what. With the demands life places on all of us, this can be difficult if not impossible to achieve. But set the goal, and if that means initially sacrificing a little on quality, don’t beat yourself up. You can bring the quality back up to snuff in the rewrite, once you’ve knocked out that stubborn first draft. Before you know it, the pages will be begin piling up, and when opportunity knocks, you will be the kind of prolific writer every producer is looking for.

Developing a writing career is an exhilarating prospect, but having a solid plan will put you in the best position to succeed.

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