Leesa Dean: Having a Hard Time Finishing a Script? This Might Be Why

Adventures of a Web Series Newbie – Chapter 69
by Leesa Dean

perfect1I am a perfectionist. You might not know it from my work, but it’s a trait that I and a lot of other writers/creatives share. Being a perfectionist can drive you crazy and can set up situations where you never ever finish anything. Which will also drive you crazy cause never finishing is like failing. Argh.

It is not atypical for me to write over 20 drafts of a script and continue to pick at it, even after I’ve submitted it or started production. Some people never finish. They’re like Sisyphus. Pushing that script up a hill and never getting there.

Luckily, when you’re writing for the web, because everything is short form and sorta disposable with insane deadlines and an unquenchable thirst for content, it forces you to just finish and not look back. Which, trust me, is the healthiest thing to do.

Even so, it’s easy to get stuck drafting and redrafting till you’re nowhere. Here are five things that have worked for me, helped me finish and move on more quickly:

1 -Don’t take yourself or your project too seriously – The more you feel obligated to do the Very.Best.Thing.You’ve.Ever.Written, the greater the chances are you’ll never finish and spend the rest of eternity tweaking. Bottom line, there’s less pressure and it frees you up a bit.

2- Have a TON of irons in the fire – I can’t stress this enough. When you put all your eggs in one basket it becomes the Most Important Project in History. Do you really want to be responsible for screwing that up? I don’t. Juggling a bunch of projects takes some of the pressure off each individual one and, because you’re so busy, you literally don’t have time to over-tweak. This year I’m working on Season 2 of the Lele Show, two brand new series, a short plus my weekly radio show which I write, record and produce. I literally don’t have time to agonize over every word.

3 – Set time limits – I do this all the time. Give myself, say, a week to finish a script. Even if I’m a little late, it forces me to see the endgame and finish quickly.

4 – Outline Outline Outline – I write everything down as an outline first. Yes, even for 2 -3 minute web pieces. Then slowly build the outline into a script. If you have an outline, you know the beginning middle and end of your script and it’s a lot easier to fill in spaces with juicy dialogue and not get caught up with specific lines.

5 – Make sure you write a minimum of five days a week – I try and write every day. In the summer, I take weekends off, unless I have a deadline. It might seem counter intuitive, but the more you write, the less invested you become in every single word and the more likely it is you’ll finish.

Hope these tips are helpful. See ya next week everybody.

Author: ChilltownTV

I'm primarily a writer. Sold a few series to tv networks and production companies but never had anything get on the air. So I taught myself how to animate and completed 3 digital series, launching two. The first, Chilltown has been named one of "Five Web Series That Should Be on Your Radar" by ABCNews/Univision and a "Show to Watch" by Tubefilter. The second, Lele's Ratchet Advice Show, garnered a fanatic cult following. As a result, I now do Lele's 60 Second Wrap Up, a weekly comedic entertainment report (which I write & perform) that airs on urban radio stations Rhythm 105.9fm and the Just Wake Up Morning Show on WWRNfm.

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