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How long does it take you?

For those of you who've completed screenplays, I'd love to hear how long it usually takes you (weeks, months, years, etc.) - and if possible, how many hours per day you end up writing on average (when you're in writing mode.)

Also, when you finish the first draft - and you're ready to do a second draft - do you edit the existing script or start over from scratch, with the first draft printed out nearby for easy reference?

Thanks..
DreamLarge:
 
For those of you who've completed screenplays, I'd love to hear how long it usually takes you (weeks, months, years, etc.) - and if possible, how many hours per day you end up writing on average (when you're in writing mode.)

Also, when you finish the first draft - and you're ready to do a second draft - do you edit the existing script or start over from scratch, with the first draft printed out nearby for easy reference?

Thanks..
DreamLarge:

First one took 6 months, probably 15-20 hours a week.

5-6 years later, most recent one took the month of December, probably 30-40 hours a week.

Now, on Dec 1st I cold pitched a theme, spent a week charting the story and another week writing a narrative, then wrote the script while turning the narrative into a treatment at the same time.

Had a 1st draft on the 29th, spent January firing the production company and on a rewrite than polish, decided to go Indie last week and do it ourselves, got it in my consulting producer's hands this morning, and she's going to read it by the light that that reflects off her Oscars on Sunday!

I have ambitions to be a TV writer, so I'm fast.

I continually edit as I go. I start by re-reading the script from page 1 every day. I catch a mistake nearly every read this way, and I also catch holes in continuity that were created by yesterdays additions to the story. Everyday I save a copy as "1.45" or "6.30" or whatever so I have every days work saved as a version.

When I feel I have a comprehensible read, I label it "First Draft" and seek notes from friends.

Then i rewrite from page one as I see fit with regard to notes. If I add or change something, I start over at the beginning reading and writing back to that point before I continue, thus insuring rock-solid, Zemekis-like continuity as well as paring away all unnecessary stuff in the process. i make sure we come in late and leave early in every scene, and that the cavalry never comes over the hill. When I get to the end, I label it "2nd Draft", then edit it from the start, and it's "Final Draft".

And than I send it to my producer friend who proceeds to point out a bunch of stuff I didn't see, and I re-write until I get a thumbs up (really a "that's as good as it's going to get") from her.

I think I may finally be up to her rigorous standard; I'm expecting few notes this run.
I'll let you know on Monday.
 
It takes me about a month to two months to write a script. Most of the time I spend about three to four hours a day writing. When I work on the second draft weather I start writing from page one or edit from the frist draft depends on if I feel like I have to make a lot of changes. I usual edit my work along the way so most of the time I don't have to make a lot of changes so I just edit from my first draft.
 
It depends on if you are talking about from the moment that the idea first occurs to me or from when I actually sit down to write the screenplay. My first feature length screenplay took me just under a month to write. Before that, I outlined the story arcs and developed the character biographies. All in I had about two months into it. I wrote approximately 1-2 hours a day. The feature screenplay that I'm working on now is one day in. I wrote 16 pages today. I would have written more, but I hit a snag on a scene that I had not originally planned. I will sleep on it and get back to it tomorrow. I outlined the main story arcs and have a good idea of who my characters are. I know how each of the two main characters will change as the story progresses. I hope to have the first draft of this screenplay done in less than two weeks. I edit as I go along but put the first draft away for awhile before go back for a page 1 redo. Then it's off to the producer and developer.
 
I've just finished the first draft of a screenplay in about 2 weeks. It's pretty simple, but I'm happy with it for a first draft. I think I've actually got some nice dialogue in there for a change! I wrote for 1-2 hours a day. This one came really easily, I think mainly because the idea was there in my head and I allowed myself just to write, without thinking too much about it.

By the way, it's a "slasher", so there's not too much depth to it (exactly as I wanted), so that probably has an effect on the speed at which I was able to write it!

Previously, though, I have spent months on a single script...
 
Depends upon the nature of the story and genre.

It depends upon how much homework & research I gotta do for details.
Two lovers in a dramedy set in "the big city" working at generic occupations in generic situations doesn't require as much attention to environmental detail as a international manhunt across jurisdictions, national & international laws, hardware, software, maps, transportation modes, etc.

Could be weeks.
Probably the better part of a year.
Likely not over a year.

And that's for a completed feature.
Assuming you're a normal person with a paying job and general household/family/social demands you should be able to chop out the first draft in a few weeks to three months.
Then you go back and forth over it, constantly, modifying the pace and story structure to bend it "the way it should go." You'll probably do that for another few months.
Then you have people that know WTH they're looking at read it, provide feedback, rewrite, resubmit, get feedback, rewrite, go for a third beating or call it a day. Done.

Doesn't matter a whole lot.
What you write and what gets in the final cut are distant cousins of each other, even if you're the writer/director.

Budget's gonna change stuff.
Producer's gonna change stuff.
Locations are gonna change stuff.
Actors are gonna have eight ways to deliver your lines.
The editor's gonna select the takes that work best.
You'll edit for timing and pace.

Watch DVD/BR director/producer/actor/writer commentaries and see how much gets changed from script to screen.
Two I can recommend the most are Salt & The Expendables.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salt_(2010_film)#Production
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Expendables_(2010_film)#Development

Write "good bones" to the story, because all the fine details are subject to change. :yes:
 
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