Sunday, July 29, 2007

Put That Coffee Down!

Cuz coffee's for closers only.

You finished that screenplay yet? You should have, you loser.

"Oh, have I got your attention now?"
When you're writing for a TV series or are under contract with a company or studio, deadlines are imposed and enforced. And there's really no decent excuse to 'not close'. Not to mention there's usually the bonus of a paycheck waiting for you at the end of the day.

But when you're in between gigs or writing a spec and thus have nobody but yourself to look to for motivation, it's very easy to slack off. Writing screenplays is hard work.

Writing screenplays for free or on spec is even harder.

And when there's no hard and fast deadline (like...we shoot next week) hanging over your head to help push on through to the end, you can always find something else more important to do.

Always Be Closing.

You want to complete that script and get it out there, right? To try to get it made. To try to sell it even. To get them to sign on the line which is dotted. But first you have to finish it.

"You close or you hit the bricks, pal."
Those who know me know I'm not a big fan of bullies, but occasionally some tough love is necessary. So whenever I'm procrastinating through another day or spending too much time mulling the next story turn or act break or dialogue line in my latest spec, I like to watch this scene from Glengarry Glen Ross and imagine Alec Baldwin's Blake is some showrunner or studio exec or agent or manager talking at me.

It's not fun to listen to in that context, but it does tend to light a fire under my ass.

So whatever your 'coffee', put it down right now. Then pull up the chair, and type until you write 'FADE OUT.'

Cuz coffee's for closers.

There's a transcript of the memorable scene HERE.


Tim Thurmeier said...

You know I hadn't felt bad about lounging around and doing nothing for the past few weeks. Until I read this post, and watched that clip. While I'm not a writer, I still try to write because I think it's an important skill to learn, especially when starting out. And it lets me at least see my ideas on paper, instead losing it to the infinite depth that is my over active brain. I think tomorrow I might actually do something. Thanks Will.


Juniper said...

I find the best way to procrastinate is to watch movies.

And now I have an excuse, "... I'll get back to work after this motivational scene... no maybe this scene...."


Anonymous said...

Or there's the un-ending "impending deal" which keeps you thinking you will be starting a script next week so why commit to a new spec now.

Kelly J. Compeau said...

That scene was not motivating in the slightest. It was humiliating and degrading. If anyone -- anyone -- spoke to me like that, they wouldn't make it to their car in one piece. I'm not kidding. I'm pretty handy with a steak knife and don't faint at the sight of blood.

You fuck with me like that, I'll cut your ear off, stab you in the eye and gut you from throat to balls.

KJC (Will's "gently motivating" future employer)

Zug Zwang said...

I dig it. Reminds me of a crazy football coach I had when I was 14. I've been working on and off on my script for about a year now, well, more off than on until just recently I'd say.
Anyway, just thought I'd stop by and say hi, and that I'll probably be popping by now and then for advice.

English Dave said...

Wtf has Alec Baldwin ever written? lol

Grumpy O. Selznick said...

Writing is tough. Its easy enough to procrastinate when your work doesnt require creativity. To force yourself to work when its not just a matter of brain matter, but of inspiration... well, to borrow from a pretty good writer, there's the rub.