by Gina Capristo-Gajdosik
I coach screenwriters and creatives. It is my extreme pleasure to attempt to bridge the gap between creativity and organization. It’s a dirty job but someone’s gotta do it.
Many new writers don’t understand this process and yet we use it every day; we write with our hearts and revise with our heads because chaos is self-organizing. Our screenplay needs to be organized. However, I find that most beginners focus more on the chaos than in the organizing.
Professionals understand that it is in the organizing where you unearth the magic. As a coach, I read lots of potentials. I read ideas that are not yet fully organized, due to a lack of understanding of this very process. Indeed, writing is a process, the kind of process that cannot be rushed. There are no shortcuts. Our work asks us to be patient and nurture it, every day, bottle-feed if necessary, hold it, cradle it…let it rest. Every new “creative” falsely assumes that with that stream of consciousness creativity comes, fully realized and edited. Consciousness needs you to edit, in fact, consciousness needs you to be dedicated, fully present, humble and able to see your work, clearly. What your heart sees on the page, is not necessarily “on the page,” and that is why what I do is so important. But that is also why it’s a dirty job. I bust balloons.
I was also once a new scribe. I went through all of the above as well. I still do from time to time. This is the nature of the beast. Feedback is essential and sometimes difficult to hear, yet it separates the amateur from the professional. There are rules to this kind of organization that you simply cannot ignore. They are found deep into page 60, where you suddenly get lost, like your hero, and everyone is wondering if you will ever make it in this business. This is the business of screenwriting. It is a long and winding road that scribe David Seidler knows, very well. He first read about King George VI’s life after overcoming a stuttering condition during his youth. He started writing the script for “The King’s Speech” as early as the 1980s, but at the request of the King’s widow, postponed his work until her death in 2002. Principal photography didn’t take place until 2009. Seidler eventually won an Oscar for his screenplay in 2011.
Imagine if he had just given up? What good would have come of that? Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I strongly believe that we are not responsible for all of our projects, just a portion of it; that when it comes to getting it out to the world, a whole new energy takes over, but only if we are intelligent enough to know when to let go.