When it comes to producing films, you’ll often find yourself stuck. Maybe you have writer’s block, and your screenplay has hit a wall. Or perhaps you can’t find an investor. Or maybe you’re stuck in post-production. You can use one technique to get yourself to the next step. The next time you’re stuck, create a self-imposed movie studio deadline. Seriously. Just pretend a studio executive wants to see your work by a specific date.
Having a movie studio deadline gives you purpose and focus. It gives you the determination to move your project forward. Think about it. When someone tells you, “I want to see your screenplay by the end of the week,” you will push yourself harder to finish. Even if you wait until the last minute, it’s totally okay. What is important is that you’re forced to take action.
Creating Your Own Movie Studio Deadline
I remember writing the screenplay for The Alphabet Killer. At the time, I had a severe case of writer’s block. And I couldn’t figure out where to go with the story. I had hit a wall creatively. The script was only about 60 pages, and it needed to become a 110-page screenplay.
I created a movie studio deadline to overcome my writer’s block. And to increase the odds of success, I took it a step further and reached out to a powerful producer. I pitched her the screenplay. To my surprise, she was like: “Great, I’d love to read it!” And I was like, “Okay, I’ll send it to you Monday.” So in this example, my self-imposed movie studio deadline became an actual deadline!
In retrospect, this was crazy. I was only halfway done with the script. I had sixty more pages to write. And whatever I delivered had to be good. So I stopped EVERYTHING and worked non-stop on the script. If I didn’t deliver the script on Monday, the producer would think I was a total amateur. I barely slept and finished the screenplay. And I emailed it to her Monday before the end of the day.
In this example, I would have never finished that screenplay without the self-imposed movie studio deadline. Calling the producer gave me a MAJOR reason to fi ish. I highly encourage you to use this “deadline-accountability” technique if you’re s uck. It may give you a few grey hairs. But you’ll level up your filmmaking.