It’s Not Complicated To Write A Screenplay In Less Than 3 Months – Adam Davis

It’s Not Complicated To Write A Screenplay In Less Than 3 Months – Adam Davis


Film Courage: How long did it take you to write BROKEN
CEILING [ Adam’s feature film]? Adam Davis, Writer/Director: It took me about a month to write the first draft. Then I would
say another month and a half of rewrites to really get it to a filmable spot
and where would you write it at at home in my office on my computer so knowing
you had the day job and so now you knew what time you could work on it did you
have specific times you would yeah it was pretty much when I get in the zone
of writing I need to do it like every day so I I found myself coming home
having dinner talking with my wife then going to write and then going to bed
waking up going to work doing that same thing again until the thing was
completed and there were points where I would do it in the morning as well as
the night I would wake up in the morning cuz my head was just like burning like
I’ve got to get this stuff out there so I wake up right go to work come home
heat right go to bed did it cetera do you finish
most everything that you start yeah I do because to not finish something really
bothers me it’s tough seeing like you know half written scripts like I don’t
actually have any like non written scripts like they’re all written not to
say that they’re all great you know or that they don’t need rewrites because a
lot of them you but but I need to at least have that full like 90 hundred
pages or whatever done and like projects like I I definitely won’t start
something that I can’t finish because I need not only like to check it off my
mental list but to sort of follow through and to follow through not for
anybody you know like I’m not doing this for anybody but for myself that’s the
most important thing like when I set a goal or a date I’m gonna do it you know
and what’s interesting is that I find that people are kind of shocked by that
my crew on my latest short that I shot in February called losing sight I had a
very quick timeframe on it it’s like we’re gonna shoot it
one day here’s what I need to have the edit done here’s one this isn’t done
like I have a couple of months I have to get it done you know then they’re like
well what for and like I mean festivals probably but like you know I just need
to get it done and that was the time that I had allotted myself and you know
I remember a few of them being just sort of like shocked when it came in like oh
it’s done because I guess they’re used to people maybe taking their time with
projects or just abandoning them or not finishing them and I just that’s
unthinkable to me because like people are putting their time and energy into
something and I want to be able to go ahead and have it out there you know for
them and for me especially like it’s got to get done you know no matter what when
you wrote broken ceiling did you know would be one location yeah I wrote it
with one location in mind because I knew that I would only have like four days to
shoot it because that’s all I can budget for you know again very small budget so
I liked the fact that you know having you in one location meant that we could
really just crank through a feature and get it all done but also to you know
just yeah I don’t know where I was going with that one
oh that’s okay it was four thousand that you spent on production no more than oh
the budget was more than four thousand four was the days that we spent shooting
it okay yeah yeah so it was done over two weekends so again working during the
week shooting over the weekend working during the week shooting over the
weekend those were those were some harried like you know a couple weekends
in a row but yeah it was great and and for the one location I knew that to be
able to shoot 90 pages in four days I had to be very strategic with it so the
one the biggest and most important thing that I decided to do was to shoot with
natural lighting because it was set in an office space and I wanted that
very oppressive florescent look and originally I designed it that it was
just gonna be like almost like Wes Anderson II in terms of like long takes
and a lot of like monologues and and it’s very much than people have
attributed it to feeling more like a stage play than anything which is kind
of how it was written but but yeah like doing all natural lighting and
rehearsing the actors for two straight weeks ahead of time
because letting everybody know we have four days we’re not gonna get a lot of
takes you know some will get a couple of them but like let’s get everything out
through a rehearsal and so we did that and everybody was on board for that in
game and that’s really how we were able to accomplish it like everybody came in
on the first day knowing what they had to do we didn’t have to on the day sort
of experiment and try and fail like we had done all that like we knew where we
needed to be we knew where we were going and there was a lot of dialogue a hell
of a lot of dialogue and a couple like long monologues you know he was very
much I had to treat it more like a theater exercise in terms of you know
the prep than anything and I think you’d said it’s something that I read it might
have been for film courage or in your video diary that the power dynamics
changed and so the way you shot it change did you also write that into the
script or was that something that during those four days you came up with but
that happened post writing of the script or through the storyboarding phase that
is something that I really had to do because when you’re limited on time you
have to know exactly what you’re gonna shoot so I storyboarded the heck out of
that and then as always happens you know when you get on set suddenly you have to
throw that out right and the director of photography Jessa was Jessica was great
because I had you know that that thought in mind of like all right I’ll do this
long takes Wes Anderson II thing and she’s like you know what I think we can
get more cover I think we can do more with this and I
was like great let’s do that so it was sort of an on-the-fly like let’s get
these shots let’s let’s do this let’s do that so a lot of it sort of straight a
little bit from the storyboards and was improvisational in the moment and the
fact that we can move so fast because we didn’t have to deal with like movie
lights and everything allowed everybody to sort of like get going so it was very
creatively energizing and improvisational this is a great time so
when you finished your first draft who did you give it to to see like not only
is is the story good but am i writing from the appropriate voice for this
protagonist sure oh I gave it to to a few people I gave it to of course like
my writing partner will for his notes my wife read it she had a couple of friends
you know who she knows who she had them read and and it was really through you
know her friends that let me go like okay like it is authentic like they are
telling me oh this reads I feel that I understand that so it was really sort of
casting it a little bit wider than I would like I’m not gonna have my wife’s
friends read every script that doesn’t you know man
but but for that it was important to make sure that like that litmus test
that initial test was was like okay like I’m on the right track it is getting
there it is truthful like all right good I’m feeling you know on solid ground and
is it you said heavy on dialogue yeah so you’re writing these different dialogue
scenes are you when you’re driving to work are you like thinking of this
dialogue like I said people attend this time you’re definitely looking at the
car in front of you but but you’re like no she would say this and I think he
would you know like is that what you’re coming up with a lot of this rich
dialogue you know some of it but I found a lot of it was coming out as I was
writing I did a lot of outlining beforehand and I did a lot of character
work beforehand so the characters just started to exist in my brain
you know in reality and so when I was writing things like things would come
out of Angela’s mouth or Ken’s mouth that I’m like only God like wow that’s
good but I can’t take credit for that you know like that’s the characters and
maybe this sounds crazy but uh but it’s like those characters really came to
life and we’re saying these things and I was you know sort of sometimes a nod at
what they were saying and I look back now and I’m like yeah I couldn’t written
like how did I myself write that it was the characters you know they came to
life and they sort of made that you know happen you

15 thoughts on “It’s Not Complicated To Write A Screenplay In Less Than 3 Months – Adam Davis

  1. You can crank a script in only a few days if you know the structure of the story and the conflicts you want in each scene. Some people can write a full book in a month, so a hundred pages of mostly dialogue with most of it being spaces in between is easily doable

  2. Some scripts/stories have to evolve too over a long period of time…

    I've was working on a coming of age drama for a few years off and on…
    I then put it away for years while working on another project(s) – and I'm now
    going back to it with the idea to add a supernatural element to the story…

  3. This is a great video. this has really been my film school for the last couple of months and I know so much now thanks to you guys I can't afford film school at the moment is this is REALLY helping a lot! My first draft of my first script was done within a month and a half. I was super excited about it until I started to read it and it need some toning down lol. GREAT VIDEO once again!!!!

  4. There are a few screenplays I've yet to finish, and it's because new ideas hit and I'll start a new script. 85% of the scripts I've written are completed, but the other 15% are either incomplete, never started, or simply outlines of concepts I had. You can finish any script within the average timeline of 10-12 weeks, but it's all about time management and dedication, and once you can master those you'll be on your way.

  5. I have a harem of 8 scripts that I am working on.
    I pair them in two’s, as if one would be the others sequel.
    This way, research & dialog that doesn’t work for one, might be used for the other? Much like repurposing.
    My way of sustaining from writers block in order to finish.

  6. THANK YOU. It's perfectly fine if it takes someone years to finish a screenplay, but it's really not that complicated. Sit down, and get it out!

  7. Yes, I finish and then I go back to it later. I recently stopped when the creative well is dry and come right back after I have an idea but I tend to finish each script and then move to the next one.

  8. Sometimes it takes me maybe two months to write due to personal schedule and how I feel or feeling each everyday…

  9. When people say they write a script/story in a few months, what they fail to mention is that they've already figured out the story (even if it changes in writing, it's a springboard) – outlining and character development. It "exists in their brain" before they sit down to write. That is a part of the process, not just the sitting down and writing the script. And that process can be harder to measure in time.

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