Screenwriting : PFOD is real! by Robert Rosenbaum

Robert Rosenbaum

PFOD is real!

I think I have PFOD - Post Fade Out Depression. After the initial excitement of finishing the first draft of my new screenplay I am feeling a deep melancholy and state of ennui. The piece is not ready to send out nor am I ready to start a second draft. I have picked through notes but outlines of other ideas and yet feel no inspiration. And the void is slowly being filled with feelings of despair... why am I doing this, I am getting nowhere, I'm probably not good enough. I am hoping to hit upon another idea/script that will inspire me and give me something to work on until I am ready to tackle a second draft of the screenplay that drove me to PFOD.

Bill Costantini

Congrats on finishing a first draft.

I share your feelings. This would be the time I go through the script for mechanical improvements to make sure I don't have wrong words (like too, to, two etc.); to correct punctuation errors and sentence structure errors; and to strengthen weak verbs. I have to wind down for awhile before I can actually begin additional creative re-writes.

Good Luck and Happy Re-Writing, Robert!

Philip Sedgwick

PFOD is very real! See if you can check out a film festival in the area and watch films. Or pick some low scoring rotten tomatoes films... asking "how did that get made?" always puts adrenaline in my adjective/adverb generator... adverbs and adjectives used sparingly in script, of course! As for rewrite, petitioning the nocturnal dream muses for insight is a good thing.

Adam Harper

Hi Robert, congratulations on finishing the first draft! I also finished my first draft on Sunday, luckily for me I don't seem to be suffering PFOD. Maybe give yourself a little break and let your subconscious settle down and then get yourself geared up to smack that second draft into shape!

We all have doubts and we're not all blessed with persistence and perseverance but you've already made sound progress so just stick at it, what are you set to lose?

Regarding ideas, I push myself to contribute to a list (almost daily) of loglines no matter how crazy they may sound. Occasionally/eventually I strike an idea that opens the floodgates and then I work on it in more detail.

Beth Fox Heisinger

Ah, yes, PFOD. Yup, we've all been there. The "fun" of the first draft is over and now the "real work" of the rewrite must begin -- so they say. For me, it's rather the opposite. I fight off self-doubt during the first draft. But my first drafts are pretty tight. I work out a lot of detail during my discovery process. I also write at a snail's pace. Lol! So rewrites--depending, of course--are mostly tweaks and polishing. Anyway, like Bill, the way I fight off doubt is by focusing on the work. Just ignore, shut off, push off to the side any negativity and focus on the job at hand. Do your best, and that's all you can do, right? It may sound strange, certainly in screenwriting with all the rhetoric, but I drift into I-don't-care-what-anyone-thinks mode and it is freeing and fantastic. Learn to trust your own gut. So my advice is take a break from that script to gain objectivity, separate it from "you," and come back to it as a job, a job at hand. Focus on the words on the page. ;) Hope that helps! You got this!

Christopher Ortiz

Can't be writing all the time. The excitement is just over. Comparison between that and daily life causes despair. Nothing's changed; still the good life, except you've made progress. Relish in that, but life is always balanced and best when balanced right. You just need to let it sit and return to your normal. It takes time.

Rosalind Winton

I'm an editor (literary), and whenever my clients tell me they don't think their first draft is good enough or ready for anything, I tell them to remember that 'the first draft of anything is never the end result', so you're not alone in how you feel. It takes a lot of work and time to get a first draft written and it's the time in the process when you're getting your ideas out of your head and onto the page and it can take most everything you've got, but think of it this way...you have succeeded, you've written the first draft, that's to be congratulated, it's an amazing achievement. Take a break, you'll know when you're ready to look at it again.

Anthony Moore

I suggest entering it into a writing contest that provides feedback, like BlueCat. They can give you feedback that may be helpful in a re-write or second draft. Another set of eyes can often see what you cannot.

William P. Johnson

I always have another project lined up to avoid the crash. There's a weird high you get from finishing a script/story, and the crash is very real. Having something new lined up to work on can help keep you busy, plus everyone says you want a bunch of projects to pitch anyway. Doing this also forced me to keep writing new stuff and before long I had like five scripts. Good or not, who the hell knows, but it's five projects I could pitch you.

Raymond J. Negron

Hey Robert Rosenbaum William P. Johnson Anthony Moore Rosalind Winton Christopher Ortiz , if you don't remember I had the absolute pleasure awhile back of reading your script and I thought you did a great job! In the words of ala Steven Pressfield or Hemingway, or someone who did or did not blow there brains out. "The First draft of anything is Sh&^"," know that! Move on and keep writing. You got this! Find your deeper purpose and that is to write more. I listened to a screenwriting podcast of recent and the TV writer I believe wasan African American Devon Daniels who wrote "Fresh Prince of Bel Air" and many others said "The rewrite is where the writing begins, the first draft is just getting it out of you." I 'm an exercise enthusiast, hopefully this empowers you, so I'm going to encourage you to grab a Kettle Bell. Here's a workout we can all do as exercise is medicine. I use a 60lb Kettlebell(start with a 25- 30lb): Workout: Kettle Bell Swings 20, Pushups 10-12 with near, perfect form, Goblet Squats 12 (until your elbows hit the knees) with back straight up, Grab both Kettle Bells and do alternate side rowing 8 reps per side. Do this 3 times around. Only rest as long as you need. Get your butt back in the seat and write this lady out until she sings. AHHHH!...Or screams. Also, invest in services to make YOU better. Rosalind WInton whose a moderator here has en excellent service, which edits the crap out of your script and she has a way of pointing out and helping you see something you may not have seen before. If you don't invest in you, you don't believe in yourself. You have to believe in yourself to write for a living. Feel free to hit me up. Wish you greatness, because you are my friend and friends here at Stage 32.

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