Excerpt from Marvin Acuna’s newsletter at TheBusinessOfShowInstitute.com
Great info so if you haven’t signed up already, I encourage you to do so and it doesn’t cost a thing!
QUESTION: How many screenplays should a writer who is not actively on assignments or making a film be generating over the course of one year, in your opinion?
MARVIN: When I was managing screenwriters, I told them that I wanted AT LEAST 3-4 new scripts a year.
Even if you’re writing part time, you should easily be able to crank out that number.
The bottom line is if you’re not writing new material, two things happen:
A) You’re not developing your craft, or shaping and clarifying your voice.
B) You’re not affording whomever you’re working with the opportunity to do anything for you.
If you’re not working with an agent or manager, you must still be able to talk about fresh material when you DO speak with Hollywood Professionals.
The screenwriter’s kiss of death is constantly trying to pitch the same, tired script, over and over again.
That last line is priceless information. PRICELESS I TELL YOU! Ensure you are not doing this and that you are coming up with new ideas every week even if you can't write them all. Flex your idea muscle. The more you use it the better ideas will come to you.
Each day, spend a few minutes, maybe while at lunch or breakfast or even right before bed (well maybe not before bed because your brain will be too active and you will be dreaming some very weird dreams all night...unless you like that sort of thing...and sometimes we get ideas for great plots in dreams...just remember to write them down as soon as you wake up before you do anything else or you will forget that fabulous, original, creative idea. Believe, I know.
I digress...anyhoo, each day, write down at least 10 new movie ideas in your idea notebook. Don't judge, don't analyze, don't correct, especially don't criticize and don't show it to anyone - just get them down. If you keep doing this process you will eventually come up with a winner that you can later use as inspiration for a new project that will sell.
The more you practice this exercise the better you will be able to come up with creative ideas easily. Your brain is a muscle you know and engaging it activates your inner idea machine. Just be careful you don't get an extra big head! Not pretty I tell you, not pretty...hmmmm on second thought re. big heads...eh hmmm (visions of "big heads" dancing in my head). [SNAP OUT OF IT - knocking myself back to reality - GOT TO STAY FOCUSED HERE!]
Hmmm where was I? Oh yeah your inner idea machine....
This also will help to deal with any writer's block when it creeps up.
Also, feel free to do this in any area of your life. A fun exercise to practice is thinking up ways to make $1 million dollars - legitimately! Try it and let me know how it goes. I think I will write a separate blog post just on activating the idea machine.
Write right and write on! N.