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The Screenplay Hermit

By Randal Stevens · August 11, 2010

“I’ve been so obsessed with this new killer screenplay I’ve been working on, I seem to use every available moment writing it. Unfortunately, now my buddies are about to give up on me and my girlfriend is threatening to break up with me. How do I balance without losing my rhythm?”

– Steve McCafferty / Austin, Texas

Holy shit, Steve.  If you’re so dedicated to your work that you’re ignoring your friends and girlfriend, you may want to ask for advice from someone other than myself.  At the very least, consider the fact that you cannot fondle the supple bosoms of a screenplay, nor will it engage you in sexual intercourse after a rough day.  If, however, you can participate in such activities with your screenplay, then you are immediately the most fantastic writer this world has ever known.
On a (slightly) more serious note, I’d recommend some type of exchange in which your friends and girlfriend can help you with what you’re working on, and you can return the favor by freeing up some time for them.  For instance, make an arrangement where after a period of writing (let’s say a day or two), your friends and girlfriend read what you’ve got and offer some feedback on what they think as outside perspectives.  If they’re not cinephiles like you seem to be, then their mindsets may be more in line with those of a potential audience and you’ll know better how to work the crowd.  In exchange for giving up their spare time to help you out, then you return the favor by turning off the computer, realizing that there is a world outside of movies and it’s filled with great things like beer and bloody competitive sports and establishments where women trade currency for the removal of their clothing.  
Seriously, get off your ass and get out of the house.  If you’re that worried about losing your rhythm, then take a pocket-sized notebook with you on which you can scribble notes and observations to put into your screenplay later.  Living in Austin, I’m sure there are plenty of complete strangers with eccentricities that you’ll find worth remembering for later use.