K9 was one of my favourite films when I was a kid. I was a sucker for anything with a dog in it, but it was a very funny, buddy cop film. Scott Myers, who wrote this script, as well as over 30 others for the major Hollywood studios, also writes for the Blacklist blog, Go Into The Story. If you read this blog much, you’ve probably heard me tell you enough times to get your butts over there and subscribe if you’re into writing, scripts or making movies.
Scott often returns to his formula for good writing practice because it’s so simple, but covers all the important points that you need to get your butt in the chair and your fingers on the keyboard.
First, 1) Read one screenplay a week.
It’s really important to read loads of scripts and get a feel for how they work, what doesn’t work, etc. There are loads of sites that have scripts you can read of major motion pictures, for where to start, click here.
2) Watch two movies per week.
Obviously if you want to write god films or create good films, there’s obvious advantages to watching a wide range of films, or ones in the genre you plan on creating. Either way, the more films you watch, the more you’re going to learn.
7) Write seven pages a week.
It’s important to have a goal amount of pages, and if you can write one page a day, or find one small time slot a week, you can write 7 pages a week. You’ll soon have a feature script together (about 90 – 120 pages) and you’ll feel great. If you can write more than that, great. But seven pages a week will get you there.
14) 14 hours prepping a story.
There’s a lot of preparation work that goes into a story, and a screenplay is no different. Character development, research, story structure, all take planning. In fact, in my opinion, structure is everything. If you want a simple and accessible introduction to script writing structure, Save The Cat or How to Write a Movie in 21 Days are good places to start. The important thing to remember is that you want to keep a writing flow going, so that, ideally, when you’re selling one script, you’re already writing your next blockbuster. You’ll also have more than one thing to pitch or sell, should you get the opportunity. 14 hours is two hours a day. Not too hard to fit that in.
That’s all there is to it, 1, 2, 7, 14.
Sounds simple, but it gives you realistic goals and routines to work to, to create a really good working system to success. To quote Scott:
“If you do this, here’s what you will have done in one year’s time: You will have read 52 screenplays. You will have watched 104 movies. You will have written 2 feature-length screenplays.
Spread that out over 5 years: 260 screenplays, 520 movies, 10 original screenplays.”