You can either DOWNLOAD or read the script below!
So I've had the weekend off work and while I could work on The Screenplay (My first real feature effort in quite a while - a strong story I kinda wish/want to make an actual feature one day), I instead shot off a tweet as I got up yesterday saying:
Someone pitch a script/idea and let me write the screenplay of it across this weekend.— Christopher Francis (@awriterforhire) June 24, 2017
Because while I've written a TV/online spec script, a short story, a few movie reviews, and some personal essays in the last week and a bit...I feel I still need to stretch my writing legs. And what better way to do so...Than writing an entire feature screenplay in the space of two days. In reality, it took me 24 hours.
Of course, the suggestions and pitches I got were not serious, and I didn't expect them to be. But the first one that crossed my lap instantly got me started...And while mulling over the idea while making bacon sandwiches I had the entire film plotted out in my head.
The result is The Client. I won't embed the suggestion tweet I got, but let's say it's about a therapist who's about to deal with his first professional client...who just happens to be a rich celebrity with a secret.
I'll be the first to say: This is not a great script. There is good in it and there is bad in it. What makes it special, what makes it important as a writer is the fact that I finished it. A first draft. Which is really what the exercise is about. I'm a fast writer and I can plot out a film or something in my head in no time at all. This is a heavily condensed process of writing a screenplay but it has the spirit of the one piece of advice I give all writers better or worse than me: Fucking finish what you start writing.
There is no such thing as a perfect first draft. There's rarely even a good first draft. For the writers that are perfectionists, your biggest crime is editing while you write. Stop. The battle to win as a writer is having written. The war to win as a writer is finishing writing.
Many call it the "vomit draft", and that's probably a good comparison. You need to get everything out there on the page, even if it is just word vomit.
If anyone expects The Client to be the best thing ever, maybe you haven't read a screenplay before. I am proud of the idea of this script more than the actual script, and that's just another thing writers need to learn. Kill your darlings. If you get hurt too much by showing an early draft to someone and they poo-poo on it, you need to get tougher. And you will, hopefully, if you keep at it. Hell, I still can't take some criticism if I really love something I've written. The thing to remember is that everyone is just trying to make the best version of the thing you've written.
But we can't even get to that stage if you haven't finished a first draft.
I am by no means an amazing writer half the time. I'd like to think I'm fairly competent and entertaining a writer, but I haven't gotten to the "art" stage yet. But I lament the curse of the procrastinating writer. And the writer who talks more about writing than writing. And the writer who edits while writing. Or says they can't finish anything. I have been that writer in every case.
But if I can start and finish a feature film screenplay in the space of 24 hours...While also running 10km, finishing American Gods, and eating and sleeping in that time...
You can finish that script. That novel. That poem. That comic.
Don't be afraid of being shit the first time round. Sucking is the first step towards being good at something. Only be afraid of not getting to "The End."
And then relish the fuck out of getting there. Before starting back from the top.
Fucking write. I want your stories.