Screenwriting : Finally Finished First Full-length Feature! by Mitch Bechtold

Mitch Bechtold

Finally Finished First Full-length Feature!

Continuing with my status updates to you. I finished writing my first feature length script, yay!

From inception (my beat sheet post) it took approximately two months to write, and during that time I've felt excited, frustrated, motivated, and angry. It's an interesting test of willpower to write a screenplay because as I wrote my mind began to wander. Somedays I would have a nice long writing session where I would knock out 10 pages over a cup of coffee, but other days I would be pulling out my teeth trying figure out what the characters needed to say in order to get to the next scene.

While I was writing I was confident that my characters were well rounded, my major action pieces made sense and moved the story forward, but all the while I had this nagging feeling in the back of my head that although the characters had a goal, their drive, their whole motivation for being in this exciting new world wasn't that, exciting. About 70 pages into my script I had an epiphany that would unfortunately change the script for the better. This REVELATION came to me about a week and a half ago, and I was able to knock out the last 50* pages in about 10 days.

All of this being said, my script is maybe a bit too long, and in definite need of some editing, BUT it's finished, and that is a really, really, really good feeling. I'm taking the weekend of to relax and celebrate, but starting Monday it's back to the grind.

I hope all your projects are doing great!

Cheers!

Pamela Bolinder

Mitch, I get it! Good for you. Smile.

Phillip "The Genuine Article" Hardy

Congratulations on your accomplishment.

Aray Brown

Congratulations!

Peter Roach

Congrats. Now go back to page one, and rewrite.

Dan Guardino

Congrats. Now when you do go and do a rewrite get rid of all those camera directions. You don't need or want them in a screenplay unless you are the director.

Doug Nelson

Definitely pull out the camera directions and concentrate on the storyline but take a break first.

Chad Stroman

Peter Roach So true. I write something and think "Sweet perfection!" then I go read some produced scripts, amateur scripts, write some other stuff and then I go back and read my "sweet perfection" and think "What the hell is this crap?!" rewrite, rewrite, rewrite.

Gustavo Freitas

Chad, so sad, so true... Mitch, congrats! But remember: this is the first draft. Be prepared for the rewrite process.

David Downes

Great! Set it aside and celebrate! Treat yourself. Let this one sit and start noodling through what you want to do for your next script.

Gustavo Freitas

BTW, you shouldn't write "The End." LOL. Fade Out is the usual transition to end it.

Raven Williamson

fade to black.

Mitch Bechtold

Gustavo Freitas I agree about not writing "The End". It's weird and awkward unless it's a story about someone reading a book. I just included it as a joke to myself (for the picture) because all of the older screenwriting books say to use it.

Mitch Bechtold

Chad Stroman "Sweet Perfection" is a great phrase that I think we all strive for but ultimately should understand that the job will only be sweet but never "perfect". I've rewritten my TV pilots multiple times, and every single time I look at it, I think of something new that can be added or changed. Recently I finished the "final rewrite" of a pilot, I liked it, my friends liked it, a script reader liked it, yet still I get new inspiration from somewhere and think...what if I just made this one little...NO it will never be perfect.

- Here's to chasing "Sweet Perfection"

Mitch Bechtold

Raven Williamson So it's hard to tell from one picture, but I actually use a "fade to black" during the first false ending right before this page. What are your thoughts on Fade vs. Cut when I use a face fade earlier. The hard cut now says "i'm serious this time, let's read some credits"

Phillip "The Genuine Article" Hardy

Mitch:

The folks who have told you to lose your camera directions probably should have told you why. They are referring to the difference between shooting (or production) and spec screenplays. Spec screenplays, which is what you're currently trying to write don't contain camera directions. You may want to check these articles out for further information.

http://www.scriptmag.com/features/spec-scripts-fail-shooting-scripts-vs-...

http://scriptwrecked.com/2009/11/20/5-key-differences-between-spec-and-s...

Raven Williamson

True. I use fade to black then, Fin. Put in the false ending as a script addendum.The Producer will do the credits. To me ...false endings have been done so much that ,Its kind of expected now and people wait for it . I'd come back show the crew packing up and say "Go home " its over. Also. the camera directions will be on the DP"s version of the script and some can get kind of offended if you tell them their job. That 's why there is a shooting scrip with angles, lenses, and technical stuff.The DP will do this script himself

and a production script in which the latter is for the talent .

Beth Fox Heisinger

Congratulations, Mitch! Do celebrate! :) You know, you certainly can write "The End" if you wish — a writer's preference. I do if I have room on the last page. I center "THE END" two lines below "FADE OUT." or "FADE TO BLACK." which is right justified. Sometimes you'll see "THE END" underlined. My mentor, a former V.P. of Development at United Artists, told me how to format that little extra touch that she likes too. But to each their own! However, I do agree with others about double checking the formatting and camera direction on that last page and throughout. Ah, but details are for the rewrite! And the next rewrite. And the next. Lol! Best to you! :)

Dan Guardino

I have used THE END, FADE OUT, THANKS FOR READING THIS PIECE OF GARBAGE.

Dan MaxXx

Congrats.

Buy a screenwriting software for rewrite. Your page looks off, from margins to descriptions spacing.

Dan Guardino

Dan M is right. The margins are off. I think there are some free software programs out there that set the margins right if you don't want to buy one.

Kevin Bolger

Re, software. Writer Duet is excellent and free (there is a paid version worth every penny btw) or Fade In. Then of course there is Final Draft. £££. I use Writer Duet Pro as I can access my scripts on the fly, via mobile tablet or pc. Everyone has there preferences so trail a few and see what fits.

Mitch Bechtold

@Everyone - For some reason this post disappeared for a little while, but I wanted to say thank you to everyone for the feedback and support!

Mitch Bechtold

Dan Guardino Dan MaxXx Kevin Bolger - So interestingly enough I am currently using the paid version of WriterDuet. (I figured I could always export in FinalDraft later).

I'm not exactly sure why the margins/spacing are off, but it is something that I'll look into. Thanks!

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