December 31, 2017

8 Somewhat Unusual New Year's Screenwriting Resolutions for 2018

It's hours before 2018. Where is YOUR screenplay?

I don't know about you guys, but I definitely made good on my New Year's resolution from last year which, of course, was to not resolve to do anything because life is hard enough as it is. However, after experiencing the dumpster fire that was 2017, I figured my current state of complete cynicism and unflinching wide-eyed hope for the future will act as the perfect fuel to write screenplays in the new year.

So, here are my 8 New Year's resolutions for 2018, which are, predictably, somewhat unusual.

I will tell my kid to get the hell out of my office

Oh, am I a mean mama? Yes!!! Okay, no. I'm not, and I'm not going to tell my darling kid to get the hell out of my office—at least not using those words. I will, however, politely and lovingly (probably) tell her that mama needs some time to work and curse and hold her head in her hands in complete frustration and hopelessness all by herself. Having a kid in the mix will only distract me from the edge of sanity I will definitely be teetering on.

But really, don't feel guilty about needing a little me-time. And if you can get it, take advantage of it before it ends!

I will write a buttload of shorts

I know I've been "writing" my feature for many, many years, but it's time to let it slumber. I mean, it already has been anyway. I've been looking at it for too long and I need it to get a different project in my head for a while. However, instead of embarking on another feature-length script, I'm going to bust out a bunch of shorts. I'm all about the little victories, guys. Ain't no shame in my game.

Shorts are a great stepping stone for new screenwriters who want to write features but aren't quite ready to handle the scale. They're also great exercises for experienced writers, especially if you're interested in an idea that you're not sure will work out yet. Plus, shorts can be a little easier and quicker to write, which will help keep those creative juices flowing while you hit pause on your other more challenging projects.

I will laugh in the face of every guru that's ever lived

You think you know me, Syd Field? You think you know my project? I don't think so, Campbell, McKee, and Snyder. You, too, Aristotle. I don't care about conventions or rules or well-trodden paths that usually lead to great results. You know why? Because if I care that means I have to learn them and apply them and make sure they work well in my story and I don't have that kind of time or energy. 2017 is just now coming to an end and I'm tired as hell. I just want to write without anyone or anything telling me what to do or how to do it.

(But) I will follow their rules like a damn soldier

The rules and conventions I do know, however, I'll definitely keep them in my back pocket because, you know, they work. 

I will live in my office like a true domestic asshole

In my office, there are currently more T-Rex's in tennis shoes, more miniature Raphael of TMNT figurines, more Rosie O'Donnell dolls, and more pictures of me dressed up as a lunch lady for Halloween than dedicated screenwriters who are willing to sit the eff down and not get up until creative headway has been made. This has got to change. I not only need to spend more time in my office writing screenplays, but I need to ensure that that time is uninterrupted. There are far too many distractions in my house and I can't get up every time I hear something cool on the other side of the door, like hysterical children's laughter or my pup barking at me for some lovies or cumbia music blasting from the kitchen to the beat of my wife's pambazos crackling and sizzling on the stove. I can't! I won't! At least not for a while! Okay, fine! I'll just see what all of the fuss is about-oh-my-god-my-kid-put-her-underwear-on-the-dog!

I will drink more

Coffee in the morning, cocktails at night, and water throughout the day keeps me healthy, energized, and warmly creative.

I will be a ruthless competitor

If you're as terrified of failure as I am, you might shy away from any and all forms of formal competition. Whatever to that. In 2018, I'm pushing myself to enter a screenwriting competition, because when I actually finish the damn thing, I need to do something with it other than let it sit in my "Done" script folder. Will it be a super prestigious one? Probably not. Will it end up being one between my kid and I so I'm more likely to win and salvage my fragile ego? That sounds more likely.

I will realize all of this is bullshit

I never keep my New Year's resolutions. Like—I never have. I'm just not that kind of person I guess—strong, disciplined, dedicated. I'm not driven by pressure or goals or achievements, but by passion. That's it. If I'm not passionate about writing, I just won't. So, I can look at this list and say, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, I'm all for it," but at the end of the day, I know that I'm going to let my kid invade my office with her Barbies because she's, like, one of my best friends. I know I'm not going to write a "buttload" of shorts (cool word, V) because I barely have time to write even a shitton. 

One resolution I can make and not break is this: I will find and keep my passion this year. My scripts may be unfinished, messy, and really, really bad in 2018, but they will be written with an immense amount of passion. And after the year like 2017, I'm surprised and incredibly grateful that I still have plenty of it.

What are your New Year's screenwriting resolutions? What do you want to work on? What are your goals for this next year? Let us know down in the comments!

Happy New Year, you guys! See you all in 2018!     

Your Comment

4 Comments

Best of luck in all of your writing endeavors! I didn't make enough films this year, but I plan to make a few shorts in the next. Happy New year!

December 31, 2017 at 8:10PM

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Do you see screenwriting as a career aspiration or more of a hobby?

January 1, 2018 at 6:15AM, Edited January 1, 6:15AM

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Isaac Elliott
Director/Cinematographer
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January 3, 2018 at 5:29AM

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You voted '-1'.
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Interesting read about the New Year, I like the way you written this article. Thanks a lot for sharing this with us.
New Year Wishes 2019

October 1, 2018 at 2:41AM

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