The ultimate goal of every screenwriter is to sell a script and get it made. However, the primary goal of every screenwriter should be to finish the first draft of a screenplay.
Without a first draft you’ll be stuck in a place worse than Development Hell. You’re left without food or water in a dark, sad, bleak place that I call Undeveloped Hell. And what’s even more galling is that you’re the Gatekeeper.
Never forget: a bad first draft is preferable to a brilliant unfinished 49 pages that have been gnawing away at you for two years.
Completion of the first draft is everything. Even if it’s barely 85 pages with a meandering second act, no real plot twists in Act Three and an ending that’s not only unsatisfying, but so wrong it belongs in a different screenplay. Even if it’s way too long (and you’ve known it’s too long ever since you hit Page 118 and you haven’t gotten to the end of Act Two.)
But too short or too long, at least you got to the Fade Out and you’ve typed in The End. Only then can the real work of revision, rethinking and fine-tuning begin. But getting to that completed first draft is the hardest part for most of us. If you can get a handle on why you’re not moving forward to completion, it might help you break through the miasma.
In my next post I’ll get into what I’ve found to be the biggest roadblocks that bring screenwriters down.