“The first draft is nothing more than a starting point, so be wrong as fast as you can.”
This is a quote from writer-director Andrew Stanton whose screenwriting credits include Toy Story, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo and Wall-E. This week in this series, I have been laser focused on the mandate about first drafts: “Get the damn thing done!”
The first three posts this week have been like a hammer on a nail, driving home the point about the singular importance of getting from FADE IN to FADE OUT.
Today we come at the subject from a slightly different vantage point. Andrew Stanton’s observation assumes the first draft will be a flawed document. Instead of lamenting that fact, Stanton embraces it.
Got that? When you write your first draft, you are going to be wrong. Yes, you are going to be right, too, but that initial effort is, as Stanton says, a “starting point.”
Given that state of affairs, why not adopt Stanton’s attitude: Be wrong as fast as you can. And how to do that? Pound out that first draft!
That doesn’t mean you neglect prep work. It doesn’t mean you blurt out crap. No. You do the best job you can. You are trying to do whatever you can to find your story and surface as many narrative nuggets as possible.
But you are not going to create perfection at this stage.
“The first draft is nothing more than a starting point.”
The Quest” has entered Week 16! And so did Go On Your Own Quest, an opportunity for anyone to follow the structure of “The Quest” to dig into screenwriting theory [Core - 8 weeks], figure out your story [Prep - 6 weeks], and write a first draft [Pages - 10 weeks]. It’s a 24-week immersion in the screenwriting process and you can do it here – for free!
Today and every Monday through Friday for 10 weeks, I’ll use this slot to post something inspirational as GOYOQ participants pound out their first drafts.
For all the previous weeks of Go On Your Own Quest posts, go here.
Join the GOYOQ Forums, a free online hub where you and other Quest participants can go to support each other and share your stories. Go here.