Posted by: steveonfilm | January 31, 2010

Now Playing

I read a good deal of the current edition of “Creative Screenwriting” this weekend, paying extra special attention to the “Now Playing” series of articles. The “Now Playing” articles are little stories/interviews with screenwriters who’ve written either movies that just came out, or movies that will be coming out shortly. It’s a really neat way to stay on top of what active screenwriters are doing, and in every article they delve a bit into their creative process.

One such interview written by Adam Stovall, was with Mark and Robb Cullen, who wrote the screenplay for the upcoming movie “A Couple of Cops,” which actually had the original title “A Couple of Dicks.” The Cullen’s script will be the first movie Kevin Smith directs that he didn’t write himself. Being a fan of Smith (or at least most of his work), I’m personally interested to see how this flick turns out.

One of the interesting things about the Cullens is that they set out to write “A Couple of Cops” because they were just fans of the buddy-cop action-comedy genre. They hadn’t seen their type of movie in a while, and with the passing of their father (who was also a fan of the genre) they decided to get busy. Working with your brother has it’s plusses and minuses, but since they’re family, you can’t really split up when an argument happened. And with the amount of time they two put into their scrit, I can only imagine that they ran into a lot of arguments.

Here’s how their work schedule was summed up:

“The Cullen brothers met every morning to discuss the story, typically for three to four hours. After this, they broke off to write separately for the rest of the day. Then they sent each other pages and patched them together. All in all, they spent seven to ten hours writing a day, five to seven days a week.“[Emphasis mine.]

So they guys put in 35-70 hours a week writing. You can see that screenwriting is very much like any other full time job. Sometimes you’re putting in a full day, sometimes you’re putting in a full day plus.

Another “Now Playing” article, this one written by Peter Clines, was with David Self, who wrote the screenplay for the upcoming “The Wolfman.” I found this article interesting because it revealed something I had always wondered if other writers do, ready what they wrote before starting to add to it. I often find myself going back and reading the last 10-15 pages I’ve written before adding to it. Usually it’s just so I can make sure I’m int he same voice, or the same rhythm, but sometimes it’s purely to remind myself where I am in the story. bSo it was kind of funny to read that Self does the same thing:

”When writing, [David] Self prefers to set daily goals of scenes or sequences rather than page counts, and says that he breaks up his writing schedule into “during the day” and “after the kids go to bed,” which has made him more of a nocturnal writer. “It was different when I was younger,” he says. He also tends to slow down as he nears the end of a script, because he begins every day by re-reading the entire script from page one, so all of it stays fresh in his mind as he writes.” [Emphasis mine.]

Again, if you haven’t subscribed to “Creative Screenwriting” and are an amateur screenwriter, you really need to look into doing so soon. It’s really a great magazine, and I couldn’t be more than happy that I signed up for it. If you don’t have the money to order it now, consider checking out their podcasts, which have long format interviews with a bunch of writers, directors, and other industry professionals.

Until next time, keep writing!


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