I just finished the second “act” in the outline of my new screenplay, and started the third. I decided to stop there for an evening. I’m a bit wary about trying to do the whole thing in one go. I worry that I might not get a good a story out of doing so. It’s easy to look at it as “only an outline.” After all, one might argue, it’s not even the first draft of the screenplay itself. Why waste so much time on it? Let me put it this way—how would your body hold up if your skeleton was finished except for your legs? You literally would have no legs to stand on. Neither would an outline without a third act.
I’m not sure if that’s a mixed metaphor or just really trying to hard to make a cliché work. Either way, I’ll try to stop that now.
Anyway, I doubt writing the outline for the third act would take as long. I couldn’t write the first two without having some idea of how I want the thing to end. I don’t have every plot point in mind, but knowing where it’s going helps. Even when I’ve got it done I’m going to have to mull over it. I want to make sure the story works before actually writing the first page.
Maybe I don’t want to rush it but I feel like I’ve taken too damn long to get to this point. I don’t refer to making the outline itself—although that did take too long as well—but I mean to get to actually writing a screenplay. I don’t know why I avoided screenwriting for so many years after getting out of college. Maybe it had something to do with the idea that by writing short stories and novels I wouldn’t feel part of they “system.” I don’t know why I have such a perception of Hollywood compared to publishing. There are mainstream publishers just like there are independent movie studios.
Maybe I just wanted to distance myself from school life. It was all I knew for seventeen years and I was finally free when I reached my early adulthood. That could be a reason why I didn’t try to take any other job with my degree, such as a reporter or a copywriter (although I have other reasons for not going into those types of work, which I won’t bother with now). I didn’t even get serious about writing until a few years had passed from graduation.
I don’t think I’m getting into this too late. I keep telling myself that I waited too long. But does anybody on the other end care? It’s not like I’m trying to get a job in a cubicle right after getting a master’s degree. I’m looking for something more creative. Does it matter how long I took, or what age I am? Only being in my mid thirties, I don’t worry so much about the latter idea but I know that it hurts my chances elsewhere. Don’t writers sell their work at any age?
Lest anybody think that I’m trying to psyche myself up, I’m not. I am curious about such thing but I’m not worried about them. My point is that I used to care too much about such things. I think that held me back more than anything else. Now that I shed away such nonsense, it’s time to get to work.