Screenwriting Files: Get Organized

By Michael Schilf · June 8, 2010

You’re an alumnus at a networking event when you see the nametag: Josiah Frazier. Great name. There’s a file for that.

You’re at a Memorial Day parade, watching a convoy of Korean Vets when it hits you: Senior Soldiers. Good Title. There’s a file for that.

You’re driving through the Sierra Mountains and point to an amazing vista, but your buddy replies, “I don’t like to look. I like to experience.” Great line. There’s a file for that.

In fact, there’s a file for pretty much everything. And if you call yourself a writer, you better get used to keeping organized files – lots of them. Always have a pen and pad hand, because life really is like a box of chocolates. You never know when you’ll meet a memorable character, stumble into a strange situation, or overhear a killer conversation.

Take notes of it all: cool locations, funny one-liners, great life stories, etc. And if the idea of hording all these snippets of information suffocates you, go through these files once a year: throw away the junk, but covet the gems. You never know – a piece of material straight from the file might just save your ass.