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Introduction | creating | writing | planning

After you have outlined your script and collected all the small pieces of paper you wrote dialog notes on after having lunch with your friends, it's time to put the meat on the bones. However, just sitting down to write is not as easy as it sounds. Sometimes ideas hit you; sometimes they don't. When you aren't drawing a complete blank it is important to understand how to convert that small speck of inspiration into a script.

Getting in the mood, the "Flow Time Bubble"

Flow Time is the key and essential component for writing. It is the moment when you are able to surrender at least 90 percent of your concentration into what you are working on. Being in Flow Time is kind of like being in a bubble, you are only concerned with what is 3 feet in front of you. Getting into Flow Time takes about 15 minutes of solid uninterrupted concentration on your script. Some people are faster at getting into it than other, but on average, expect to allow 15 minutes to get into your Flow Time. When you are trying to establish your Flow Time, it pays to have diarrhea of the mouth. Just let all your ideas flop and flow out.

Some people get into Flow Time when they are in a quite room alone with nothing in the air to get between them and their computer. For others, their Flow Time comes when there is a lot of sustained ambient noise, i.e. in a bookstore or in front of a TV. Both these environments can help establish the "Flow Time Bubble."

There are many other factors that can effect your personal Flow Time: diet, exercise, prayer, gimmicks (coffee, special hats, etc.), and relationships. Whatever it is, it's important to find out what triggers a level of concentration and focus that allows you to get into the moment of what you are writing. There is no exact formula for Flow Time, it's different for everybody.

Staying in your flow time bubble

Because it takes about 15 minutes to get into Flow Time, it is important to take away any distractions that may burst your "Flow Time Bubble." Turn off all ringers on phones and try to remove yourself from situations where people may try to engage in conversation with you, or where you may encounter yapping dogs or crying babies.

Carry a thesaurus and have a large pitcher of water and a few snacks handy. Be careful of having too much candy as a snack because the sugar can greatly effect your mood and stop Flow Time.

Have your outline handy at all times

One way to make writing your script easier is to go through the outline and fill in the outline scenes with dialog. Sometimes it also helps to carry a printed copy of your outline with just the scene headings. Writing a script can be an overwhelming process. Seeing the outline without the dialog can help your mind put everything into perspective a lot easier.

Software can keep you in the bubble.

Eliminating distraction is one key to establishing and staying in your Flow Time. Another way to help concentrate on your story is by eliminating the annoying task of formatting. There are many specially designed word processor for writing scripts that help do this. These programs include basic functions like spell checkers, but they also have lots of other goodies that make formatting and writing a script much quicker. For example Screen Play System's "Screen Writer 2000" has special goodies that automatically adjust the indentation and capitalization for character names, dialog, action and sluglines. Features like this give your mind less interruptions for formatting and allow more Flow Time to go towards your story.

Back up your work

Save your work frequently. Sometimes data can get corrupted, or maybe your laptop could get stolen. With disk space being so cheap it pays to save multiple versions and to back up your script to multiple locations: to a floppy disk and the internet. Backing up your data to the Internet is a very easy. One company,, provides users 25 megabytes of free storage. That is more than enough room for 1000 saved scripts. Best of all, the service is free.

Things Change

Remember, as you write, you will come up with better ideas. Understand that writing a script is a process of evolution. Probably one of the most difficult steps of this process is finishing the first draft. Finishing a first draft is a huge milestone. The next steps, while more tedious, can also be a lot more fun. After you finish your first draft, you now get to fine tune and tweak your script. Dialog will improve, scenes will added, and weak scenes will be deleted. Hopefully, your script will mature into something that is producible.

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Introduction | creating | writing | planning




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