How has your personal writing community influenced and assisted you?
It is really important for me to know that I have a few other writers who can give me feedback on my work. Writing is such a solitary process so it’s nice to be able to “talk shop” with other writers. On the flip side, it gives me great pleasure to know that there are some filmmakers out there who always want me to look at their screenplays before they start shooting.
How do you balance your writing time with the rest of your life’s responsibilities?
It’s tough! As a screenwriting teacher and a judge on various competitions, I frequently read dozens of screenplays a week so, often, by the time I can sit down and write, working on a screenplay is the last thing I want to do. I have to have time off between screenwriting professor work and actual screenwriting work.
Could you share your process/routine for writing?
I don’t like to start writing until I have everything worked out in my head. So, there is a lot of time just thinking, walking around and juggling ideas, I take lots of notes, write down sketches of ideas for scenes, a line of dialogue here and there and thematic points. Once I have a few pages of notes, I start cutting and pasting them into chronological order and, gradually it becomes the beginnings of an outline. Then I usually write a formal outline, ideally 7-10 pages long. The story has to be pretty solid so that I can focus on the mechanics of writing the screenplay. You never want to be writing the screenplay and start thinking “this doesn’t work” or “I should have a scene where xyz happens.” All of that stuff should have been worked out in the outline. Of course, you have to be open to inspiration and the possibility that a great idea might come to you while writing the screenplay.
David is currently adapting two memoirs to screen and was recently asked to write a Hallmark movie, “a straight up romance.”
Come and see David’s Screenwriting class Friday, Saturday, and Sunday June 7-9 from 3-4pm at the Wyndham Hotel at 4th and Arch Street in Old City Philadelphia during the 2019 Philadelphia Writers’ Conference!