Taking Your Time

Today I read a screenplay by a producer friend of mine from LA. Great guy. Really solid script. Gave him some notes that will probably turn out to be no help at all.

But also, reading his script reminded me of a lesson I’m always trying to teach myself: take your time at the beginning.

I read an interview once with Michael Arndt, in which he said that while writing Little Miss Sunshine he let himself have lots of time at the beginning of the story for just setting up the characters and their relationships, without putting any pressure on himself to be funny.

Of course, the film is funny right from the get-go, so he must just be a funny guy.

But it’s an important lesson to learn, and I’m really bad at it. I’m very much a structure guy, and I’m always trying to hurry the story along so that I get to Act Two by page 25. Or whatever.

As I round the corner toward my tenth script, I’m trying to get away from being so formula-driven, and I think this is one of the things I’ll have to focus on the most.

In other news, I’ve finished the first draft of my half of the episodes for the web series I’m doing with Shawn Victa. We’re supposed to meet later this morning to talk about what comes next. Exciting!

Ryan Elainska