1, 2, 7, 14

January 1st, 2012 by

Here is a simple formula about three things — Read Scripts. Watch Movies. Write Pages. — you need to do to expand and deepen your understanding of the screenwriting craft.

4 numbers for you to remember:

1, 2, 7, 14.

1: Read 1 screenplay per week.

Pick out your favorite movies. Or do a genre study of several scripts in a row in one genre. Try scripts in genres you don’t particularly like to experience different tone and atmosphere. But every week, read at least 1 full-length movie screenplay.

2: Watch 2 movies per week.

Go to a theater and watch 1 movie for sheer entertainment value. Rub shoulders with a real crowd to remind you of your target audience. Then cue up Netflix or pop in a DVD, and watch 1 movie to study it. Note its major plot points. Better yet, do a scene-by-scene breakdown. Maybe 1 new movie, 1 classic movie. But every week, watch at least 2 feature-length movies.

7: Write 7 pages per week.

That’s one page per day. It may take you ten minutes, it may take you an hour, but however long it takes, you knock out a page per day so that every week, you produce 7 script pages.

14: Work 14 hours per week prepping a story.

This is how you will learn the fine art of stacking projects. While you are writing one story, you are prepping another. Research. Brainstorming. Character development. Plotting. Wake up early. Take an extended lunch break. Grab a few hours after dinner. Stay up late. Whatever it takes, carve out 2 hours per day for story prep. Create a master file Word doc. Or use a spiral notebook. Put everything you come up with into that file. You’d be amazed how much content you will generate in a month. Most professional screenwriters juggle multiple projects at the same time. Here’s how you can start learning that skill-set: Writing one project, prepping another. Two hours per day so that every week, you devote 14 hours to prep.

1, 2, 7, 14.

Those are simple, clear goals. Daily goals, weekly goals.

If you do this, here’s what you will have done in one year’s time:

You will have read 52 screenplays.

You will have watched 104 movies

You will have written 2 feature-length screenplays.

Spread that out over 5 years: 260 screenplays, 520 movies, 10 original screenplays.

That means you could have read every one of the top 101 screenplays as voted by the WGA, plus 159 more.

That means you could have seen every one of the IMDB Top 250 movies, plus 270 more.

That means you could have written the exact number of original screenplays Lawrence Kasdan (Body Heat, The Bodyguard, The Big Chill, Grand Canyon) wrote before he sold his first one.

All by setting these simple goals: 1, 2, 7, 14.

UPDATE: And now Sergio Barrejón has translated this post into Spanish on his blog here.

41 thoughts on “1, 2, 7, 14

  1. […] watched 104 movies and written 2 feature-length screenplays. To find out more, read his post: http://gointothestory.blcklst.com/2012/01/1-2-7-14.html. I think this is an excellent formula that doesn’t take up too much of your time and great […]

  2. […] So to solve that problem, I am going back to school… well, sort of. I plan on adopting the 1-2-7-14 plan outlined by Scott Myers over at Go Into The Story. Scott shares his wealth of knowledge and offers […]

  3. […] since I heard about 1-2-7-14 early in the year, I’ve been thinking about my writing goals for 2012.  I know a lot of […]

  4. Quite interesting. I will try this year… The potencial result is promising.

  5. […] les scénaristes manquant d’organisation ou d’énergie, le scénariste et blogguer Scott Myers nous a concocté un programme spécial : le 1, 2, 7, 14. Voilà ce que propose  ce programme à […]

  6. What about self promotion, sending out queries, cold calls, etc?

  7. Phil says:

    “Consistency, thou art a gem.”

  8. […] at the beginning of the year, I ran across Scott Myers 1-2-7-14 plan. In a nutshell, Scott suggested to read 1 screenplay per week, watch 2 movies per week, write 7 […]

  9. Wes Holland says:

    I love this little, workable, and imaginative way to set minimum achievable goals. I am especially an advocate for reading scripts. I have learned (or at least gleaned) more about structure, pacing, and pagination by reading scripts. My addition to the 1-2-7-14 is (W) R-W-W [if you are not writing, Read. If you are not reading, watch. If you are not watching, Write. Above all WRITE!] I call this the writers OODA loop. Cheers

  10. […] since I heard about 1-2-7-14 early in the year, I’ve been thinking about my writing goals for 2012.  I know a lot of people […]

  11. […] To supplement this, I would need to read more screenplays too. Or I guess reading in general. Turner has a reading habit of five newspapers a day, a book a week, and a script a day (if that’s too much, there is also this interesting system from one of my favourite sites on screenwriting, Go Into The Story: http://gointothestory.blcklst.com/2012/01/1-2-7-14.html). […]

  12. […] week, for 1, 2, 7, 14, I plan on reading my own script. Yes, I said it. I’ve been avoiding it like the plague. […]

  13. […] everything from dialogue to taking meetings can be found in the archives of this blog.  Start with this post and go on from […]

  14. […] 1, 2, 7, 14 | Go Into The Story. Another great post for screenwriters by Scott Myers. Share this:ShareFacebookTwitterEmailPrintPinterestLinkedInLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. This entry was posted in Screenwriting and tagged screenwriting, story by Amanda Jane Starr. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  15. […] The first three are somewhat self-explanatory. Scott recommends reading any screenplays, from all different genres — even genres or films you might not like. You should also watch at least 2 movies per week (though I’d recommend more), and study the way the stories are put together, from the inciting incident all the way through the major plot points and the climax. Figure out where these events happen in the movie and how they work to advance the story. Write 7 pages per week for whatever story you’re working on. Lastly, and probably the most time-consuming, is to work 14 hours a week prepping a story. Here Scott explains that step, which he refers to as stacking projects: […]

  16. […] never get anything done, if I’m busy always trying to do everything at once. I really love this idea. It is […]

  17. SabinaGiado says:

    I love this and have been practicing this for the past week.

    Since I’m pretty new to screenwriting, the pages I write are going to be pretty bad. What does one do with the resulting pile of doody? I’m going on my own Quest with many GITS readers. We’re not supposed to be paging till October 22nd!

    Advice on doody-control?

  18. […] So I’ve been trying to practice Scott Myer’s mantra for two weeks now: 1, 2, 7, 14. […]

  19. SabinaGiado says:

    I have to ask this since no one has said anything about it. When precisely do writers get to relax?

    1. Scott says:

      Actually, Sabina, I think it’s important to set aside what I call QVT: Quality Veg Time. Where you just let your mind zone out. Even that is part of the creative process I find. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve had an idea spring up out of nowhere when supposedly doing nothing.

      I like your question and it’s an important one. I’m going to ask this of the GITS community to see their reaction. Thanks!

  20. MSchliss says:

    has anyone developed a chart or an easy way of keeping track of this?

  21. […] Algo parecido a esto cuenta Scott Myers en su estupendo blog Go Into the Story (otro de esos blogs que hay que leer sí o sí) cuando dice que hay que seguir la pauta de escribir una página de guión cada día, pero también que hay que ver dos películas a la semana, que leer un guión completo a la semana y que escribir diariamente dos páginas al día de material preparatorio para un guión. Es lo que llama el método 1, 2, 7, 14. […]

  22. […] How to start? Scott Myers, a very experience teacher and screenwriter, whose blog Go Into The Story is one of the most popular screenwriting blogs on the planet, has a recommendation that he expresses succinctly as “1-2-7-14″: […]

  23. Ouch, this post is calling my bluff that I keep telling myself I need to learn everything first, then write. Darn. Got the 1 and 2 down but 7?!
    Very impressive post, tho. You’ve motivated me to actually write. And that my two stories don’t have to be written one after the other.thx.

  24. […] Meyers (GoIntoTheStory.com) has a mantra “Read Scripts. Watch Movies. Write Pages.” that too few writers follow. Next time you’re feeling stuck and like every choice you make […]

  25. […] with additional jobs to pay bills, I suggest goals realistic for yourself. There’s the great 1, 2, 7, 14 over at […]

  26. […] Эта статья про из блога Go Into The Story. […]

  27. […] also got a FIRST DRAFT in progress, which I’m trying to write 7 pp / week on. It’s my passion project, which we’ll called UNTITLED MEEKER project for now. This is […]

  28. […] This idea kind of came to me from reading the Go Into the Story blog at the Blklst.com. I’ve really been enjoying the recent articles on screenwriting and especially the goal of 1,2,7,14. […]

  29. […] was a great post on a blog that I follow that prescribed the 1 2 7 14 system for screenwriters. The gist is this: writers write. You know what else? Photographers take pictures, filmmakers make […]

  30. […] scheduled to do the final read-through on that later this morning.  Trying to get into the GITS habit of stacking […]

  31. […] than I can keep up with, so I miss a lot, but I check in occasionally and recently I happened upon this post, where he recommends a formula of reading 1 script a week, watching 2 movies a week, writing 7 […]

  32. […] one of the most popular posts I’ve ever written: 1, 2, 7, 14. Simply put, each week: Read 1 script; Watch 2 movies; Write 7 pages; Prep story for 14 hours. […]

  33. […] an excerpt from his blog: 1, 2, 7, 14 “Here is a simple formula about three things — Read Scripts. Watch Movies. Write Pages. — you […]

  34. vpsingh says:

    Very good stuff. Check out my video for top 10 screenwriting contests to enter here- http://youtu.be/NZhXEWKMcLc

  35. […] we love doing. Which is why, in the case of writing, I completely recommend following Scott Meyers 1,2,7, 14 formula to become more of a productive and better […]

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