Posted by: steveonfilm | January 18, 2010

Why Planning Is Important

I just got my first issue of “Creative Screenwriting Magazine” and have been going through the articles. I’ll have a post later this week about the magazine as a whole, but I wanted to bring up something I came across in an article I read tonight.

There’s an interview with Peter Schink and Scott Stewart, writers and director of the upcoming religious action film “Legion,” and Schink said something I thought was really interesting. He notes:

“Typically, I like to get the skeleton of the story down, so I know the intention of each scene, and I let that inform the details when I go back over it.”

This was really reassuring to read because it sounds a lot like how I go about my writing process. Outline the main beats, and let those drive the detail you work into the scenes or sequences.

However, Schink goes on to talk about what happened when he didn’t follow that path:

“This time I wanted it to unfold in a very organic way, so I took my idea and just started writing page one. No outline. The problem with this approach, however, is that I got to the end of the second act and all the characters had gone off in these disparate directions and i had no idea how to resolve that.”

I think everyone has sat down and just started writing. Maybe the idea was so exciting you just wanted to get right into it. Maybe you were in a rush and didn’t have time to put together the outline. Maybe you hate outlining. Whatever the reason, the spot Schink finds himself in is very common, even in people who do spend a lot of time outlining. He had 2/3 of the film written, but no way to bring it all together at the end.

On another side note, I found it funny that Schink gets a lot of inspiration while he’s in the shower, which is also something that happens with me too.

Anyway, in closing Shink finished with:

“There comes a point when things become overworked and don’t feel fresh anymore, but if you have that burning feeling that something isn’t right, it’s your job to fix it. I think once your brain stops talking to you about a script, it’s good.”

Considering what I’ve written about over the last two weeks or so, I don’t think I could have said it any better myself.

It’s like this article was exactly what I needed to read right now.

Enjoy.
-Steve

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