Author Topic: The Official Writer's Block Thread  (Read 5218 times)

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Thrindle

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The Official Writer's Block Thread
« on: January 30, 2005, 11:15:51 PM »
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The title says it all.  I'm ready to rip my hair out and scream.  Does anyone have any remedies for this?  

Or does there come a time where you actually give in to your own criticism, and just give up.  Seriously, a writer, writes.  I'm not writing.  Therefore I am no writer at all.

 :violin:
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cine

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The Official Writer's Block Thread
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2005, 12:21:00 AM »
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what the.. i thought all writers experienced writer's block.  i didn't know there was a cure for it.

Brock

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The Official Writer's Block Thread
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2005, 01:06:14 AM »
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There's no one "cure", but different tricks do work for different people. It really just depends on what you find works best for you, so you'll have to try a few things and figure that out.

For some people, the best way is to just keep writing, no matter how shitty the output is, and that way you'll work yourself through the block and get those quality ideas flowing again.

Personally, I've found it best to stay completely clear of my project for a chunk of time (few days, maybe a week, whatever feels right) and just let myself sort of subconsciously reflect on what I've written, not even really thinking about it. Then I'll sit down again, start from the top and read through (even just skim through) the entire script from beginning to where I left off. This both re-invigorates my initial excitement for the story and the characters, and gives me a chance to review the thing as a whole, and really see what's working, what's flowing, and what's not.

Again though, people are different, and people work in different ways. You've really just gotta experiment a bit and figure out what method best kicks your ass back into writing.

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The Official Writer's Block Thread
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2005, 01:31:00 AM »
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Quote from: cinephile
what the.. i thought all writers experienced writer's block.  i didn't know there was a cure for it.

i know for a fact that there is a cure for insomnia.

cine

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The Official Writer's Block Thread
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2005, 01:33:05 AM »
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Quote from: mogwai
Quote from: cinephile
what the.. i thought all writers experienced writer's block.  i didn't know there was a cure for it.

i know for a fact that there is a cure for insomnia.

i wouldn't know. the fuckers hung up!!!  :yabbse-grin:

mogwai

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The Official Writer's Block Thread
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2005, 01:38:20 AM »
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it's because they thought you knew more than they did. :saywhat:

bigperm

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The Official Writer's Block Thread
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2005, 08:14:59 AM »
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I simply write something else, and that works for me.
Safe As Milk

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The Official Writer's Block Thread
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2005, 01:47:58 PM »
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There Is No Laxative To Relieve Writer's Block.

Weak2ndAct

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The Official Writer's Block Thread
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2005, 03:40:39 AM »
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I wish there was an easy cure.  I could go six months without writing a decent word, then go and write sixty pages in three days.

I will say this: have the courage to abandon material, finished or not.  I have a friend who's been rewriting the same movie for 3+ years.  He keeps coming back to it every now and then, changing everything around, trying to find something new.  In that time frame, I've written seven films.  They're not all winners, but I have one that's gangbusters, and two that could get there with some more work (distance and fresh eyes really do help).  I don't feel bad about shelving the other four.  They served their purpose(s).  

Sometimes you just have to aceept failure and move on.  If there's something worth saving, you'll come back to it.

MacGuffin

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The Official Writer's Block Thread
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2005, 02:27:21 PM »
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WGA nominees surrender some secrets
Source: Hollywood Reporter

A yellow bathrobe just might be the secret to becoming a successful screenwriter, according to one of the participants in Beyond Words, a panel session featuring this year's WGA Award nominees in the film categories.

The Thursday night event, presented by the WGA and The Hollywood Reporter at the Writers Guild Theatre in Beverly Hills, offered insights and hilarious examples of how the writing process really works.
 
The nominees involved included Charlie Kaufman ("Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"), Zach Braff ("Garden State"), Keir Pearson ("Hotel Rwanda"), Paul Haggis ("Million Dollar Baby"), Jose Rivera ("The Motorcycle Diaries"), Alexander Payne ("Sideways"), John Logan ("The Aviator") and Julie Delpy ("Before Sunset").

In a discussion of rituals and process moderated by Nia Vardalos, a former WGA Award nominee for 2002's "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," most of the panelists admitted that they procrastinate -- a lot -- when it comes to getting down to work.

Rivera said writer's block was nature's way of preventing mistakes, and Kaufman said he spun his wheels a lot, not doing much. Payne said that not doing much was the process, and that you need eight hours to write two hours.

But all the writers' jaws dropped and gasps were heard when Logan revealed he rose at 5:30 a.m. and wrote all day.

"You're up at 5:30 and you're writing by, say 5:50?" Payne asked. Logan said yes.

"In your pajamas?" Payne asked, still stunned.

"In a yellow bathrobe."

Logan caused more shock when he admitted he churned out an average of 15 pages a day.

"You say it's a yellow bathrobe?" Kaufman asked.

The exchange, which also included zingers on masturbation, had the standing-room-only crowd bowled over in laughter.

For most of the evening, the writers acted more like performers than screenwriters, encouraged by Vardalos' disarming moderating style, which at times was humorously frank and self-deprecating. The evening was not without insight, however, and the writers discussed such topics as rewrites, collaboration and studio notes.

Logan talked of the fine line he walked while writing "Aviator," when he tried to balance historical facts and demands of story. "I'm not a historian, I'm not a biographer, I'm a dramatist," he said. "My job is to take that historical reality and put it through the lens of a writer ... so that an audience can appreciate it."

On the sanctity of the written word, Payne said he didn't like it when an actor comes up to him and says, "I know it's written this, but can I say this?"

Braff, known more for his acting than writing and directing, admitted he was that type but now has changed: "In the past, I think I've been someone who tries to say, Hey, can I say it this way? But then I saw how hard it was to write a movie, and when people tried to change the lines, I was like, 'No, no, do it exactly like I wrote it.' "

Haggis said "Baby" director Clint Eastwood shot his first draft, even though Haggis actually wanted to make some changes to his original script. Eastwood, however, prevented him. "He really likes the ragged edges," Haggis said.

In dealing with studio notes, the writers said having protection from a producer or director was helpful, as was simply ignoring the notes.

Kaufman said he liked to present a unified front with his director and producer. "People like them, I consider my collaborators. Those people (the studio), I consider the enemy," said Kaufman, and the audience laughed and applauded.

Logan said that in the course of writing "Aviator," which traveled through five studios and countless financiers, he "never had a studio meeting and not a single note."

"Because I was protected," he said. "I walked in side by side with Michael Mann and with Marty Scorsese. And they shut the door to any influence other than the people in that room. So the script that came out as a result is my mine as much as Michael Mann's and Leonardo DiCaprio's and Martin Scorsese's."

Delpy said she and her fellow writers, Ethan Hawke and Richard Linklater, "used a third of what the notes said, and the rest, we said we would acknowledge those notes ... and we didn't."

Pearson, whose "Rwanda" was his first script, recalled seeing director Terry George on the phone, taking studio notes and nodding, then hanging up and saying, "That's all bullshit." Pearson was perplexed: You don't have to do everything they say? "Nah," George said.

When Payne pointed out that there was a reporter in the room, Kaufman sought to elaborate on his "enemy" statement. "I'd like to make a clarification. The thing I said before was for comic effect," he said wryly. "I have very good relationships with the studios I work with."

The evening began with opening remarks from WGA West president Dan Petrie Jr. and Robert J. Dowling, editor-in-chief and publisher of The Hollywood Reporter.

Dowling spoke of the importance of the writer as inventor.

"What ends up on the page comes from a place we have all been to but few of us can express in any way, let alone creatively. That place is the essence of our life," Dowling said. "If the writer writes from inside, he feels what goes on the page. The feelings are often completely in line with the universal pulse that exists in all of us. They resonate with what we are feeling but cannot express, it comes out in the words, and connect all of us on a human level.

"No other talent in entertainment can claim such as gift, and for me, it's the most elegant and exceptional of all skills."
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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kotte

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The Official Writer's Block Thread
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2005, 01:03:09 PM »
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For me, writers block comes in before the actual writing. I have trouble getting ideas.
Well, ideas I have but as soon as I think about the time and effort I need to put in it, whether its a feature screenplay or a short I'm gonna make, the idea fade away. Not because of lack of interest but lack of passion. If I'm gonna invest emotionally and financially and time in a project I need it to be special. Very special...and that special I find is hard to come by.

But when I get a good idea I vomit material. Initially I write everything that comes to mind. I end up with too much material for one screenplay. The problem then, which in fact is quite enjoyable, is to dig through all that and find the core of the story and strip the rest away.

kill is love

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The Official Writer's Block Thread
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2005, 09:49:07 PM »
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writers block is nothing short of crippling, but i do have a few remedies to help cure it.  for me film is life so i just try to get out and surround myself with it. it being life. another cure is by taking drugs.  i know there not for everyone but they really can unlock your mind to new brilliant ideas.  or if your not into that  just try drinking more alcohol than you ever though possible and listen to music very loudly.

just my cures, and for me they do work

Gamblour.

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The Official Writer's Block Thread
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2005, 12:09:26 AM »
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Because of my screenwriting class, where we have to write ten pages each week, I've been forced to figure out interesting ways around block:

-Lots of music, duh
-Lots of weed
-1 and 2 together, of course

-Knowing where to go can be hard. I decided to figure that out by writing the scenes in broad strokes. I listed out what scenes I wanted to do for the next few pages, then I thought about them some more. Then I wrote them. It's all organizational and it worked for me.
-Write aspects that won't come up. One time I needed to know what in the hell my characters were going to want in all of this. So I wrote up a table of their wants and motivations. Then I wrote things plotwise that I could use to express this.
-Space, space, space. Go away, come back.
-I tend to write more flowingly and creatively at night. My organization goes through the roof at the morning. Different parts of the brain I guess.
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Weak2ndAct

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The Official Writer's Block Thread
« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2005, 03:37:07 AM »
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What's with all the drugs and booze?  Man, I resort to that when I've given up on the writing, not when I'm still searching for the answers.

Gamblour.

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The Official Writer's Block Thread
« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2005, 08:45:12 AM »
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The two times I've gotten high before I had to write, I came up with my story idea and wrote the best scene so far, I think. Perhaps it's just because I'm not a naturally creative person.
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