Two Phases of Screenwriting by SCHOOL OF ROCK Screenwriter Mike White
July 8th, 2014
Mike White has churned out some very funny and touching stories including SCHOOL OF ROCK, NACHO LIBRE, CHUCK & BUCK, THE GOOD GIRL, and others. In this short but informative (and funny) video by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences' in their new "Academy Originals" initiative, White explains his writing process as being two phases of creativity. They are what he calls "Open" and "Closed" phases of screenwriting. (Hat tip to /bent.)
"There’s kind of two creative phases. And one is more open and one more closed," says white. "The open phase is your kind of ingesting and taking in it’s like your impregnating your brain with an idea… it needs to sort of gestate."
White goes on to explain that Procrastination isn't always a bad thing and that sometimes it just takes time before you're ready to sit down and write. "It’s almost like I’m waiting as long as I can to write. From the outside it looks like I'm sitting on my couch or reading or walking, it looks I’m doing nothing… but there’s a point to procrastination. I see the cycles of being really productive and then going through these periods where I’m literally sitting around my house starring at the walls."
Perhaps the key to good writing is being more patient with yourself and your ideas. White says, "Things that are more original and come after you really get inside the character’s head. It’s like you build the world and the world needs to be built out. Once I start writing it feels like the idea is as fully born as possible. "
The "Closed phase" of the creative process, which is key, according to White, " is like this is the idea and now I need to do it. It’s like getting a fever where you’re like I’m going to now live and breadth this thing until it is done."
Finally, enjoy writing. Remember, no one is forcing you to do this. If you don't love writing, well something is wrong. "Some other writers are like you have to do your ten pages … You know like writing is labor and pain. I mean, it is labor, but it should be fun. You should be excited to get back to the computer. If you're not excited to get back to the computer, then maybe something is fundamentally wrong with your idea. You should be writing about something else, maybe?"
Watch the entire video Interview below!