Useful Lessons I Learned From Having Screenwriters for Parents

observations from our dinner table
  1. If you are self-employed, it is helpful to have a dedicated work space/hours, and to separate yourself from the phone.
  2. It is good to keep tea/snacks/water on hand, so you have fewer reasons to get up from your computer.
  3. If you are having a third act problem, you probably actually have a first act problem.
  4. If you are having a second act problem, you probably actually have a problem with your protagonist.
  5. The second act will be much easier to get through if you have an outline to rely on.
  6. Aristotle's poetics is worth reading.
  7. You can work for twenty years on something and not get it made, so you better fucking celebrate along the way.
  8. You can work for twenty years on something, get it made, and hate the final product, so you better fucking enjoy the process.
  9. The notes executives/producers/directors give you may seem stupid. It is your job to look past their bad solution to the problem they are responding to--and come up with a better solution.
  10. Sometimes executives/producers/directors are just being stupid. Certain heartbreaks are worth it; others are simply not. Know when to walk away.
  11. The more you write, the better you will be at writing. Having a daily practice is ideal. Ergo, there are no real weekends.
  12. That said, it is important to have time to daydream. Everyone procrastinates. It's a creative tool.
  13. Save your money so you don't have to take a shitty job you hate just to pay the mortgage.
  14. That said, sometimes a job is just about paying the mortgage, and that's okay too.