A SCENE A DAY – A feature film diary

ArizonaI get an idea for a movie.  I am about to sit down and write it when a job comes calling – five months filming a TV Series in the US.


I realise I still want to write this story. I have an image that won’t go away, stolen from a newspaper. I am already scared the idea is no longer topical. But start to write it anyway.

I now have a solid six page treatment.  And a window of time in which to complete a first draft.  But I am slow.  So I’m going to give myself a timeline.


I am not the first person to think of this but I like the randomness of this idea. It’s also the opposite of how I write. I tend to think about a sequence or a moment for a few days (I told you I was slow) before finally writing a scene or two.

But I do like a deadline. And I am vaguely competitive…!

Writers are fascinated by process – especially other writers’ process.  When they meet other writers they say ‘How many hours a day do you write?’  Mostly so they can then beat themselves up about how lazy they are by comparison. The other writer then feels duty bound to say, ‘Oh but I am terribly slow, I never get enough done, I am so easily distracted.’ To which the first writer replies either, ‘But you’re so prolific!’ (no pressure there then) or, ‘Oh I know, it’s so hard when you’re working/have children/a dog to find the time to write.’

My good friend Hilary, an excellent – and prolific – writer told me she once attended a prestigious literary conference. One of her favourite Irish novelists was there and, at the end of the event, gave her this invaluable piece of advice about writing:

‘Just put your arse on the chair.’

Follow my progress week by week- and mark your own progress too if you like!

Twitter @emlin32  #scriptsmart


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