Every sentence must do only one thing. Please the author.

Every sentence must do only one thing.  Please the author.

Approach a first draft with a creative mind, not an editorial mind, they say.  But how free can you be?  To really free the creative mind for writing a screenplay would mean trying to lodge all you’ve learned about writing and structuring (and selling) a screenplay elsewhere while your own emotions, preoccupations, and fierce beliefs are allowed to roam wild.  It should also mean letting scenes and conversations between people expand beyond where logically you think – they should be done by now – as that’s how, and where, you find the content and meaning of your script, and possibly any true value you have as a writer.

Value to the world, to people, rather than an executive, an agent. 

The trouble is we’ve been told – LEARN THE RULES TO BREAK THE RULES – but after you’ve read some or all (if you’re masochistic) of the industry’s toadying screenwriting propaganda -Story, Screenplay, The Writer’s Journey, Save the Cat, The Seven Basic Plots, The Sequence Approach, The Screenwriting Bible, Writing Screenplays that Sell, or (one I’ve read and liked) “Inside Story” by Dara Marks – to suddenly throw out those rules, principles, and nagging must-do’s to find self expression relatable to your world isn’t easy.

The corporate filmmaking structures which have a deep influence on the teaching of a rigid feature film structure itself, don’t want you to find too much content and meaning.  They are the extra editor on top of your own mind’s editor, becoming as you write even a first draft like the narrow limits of news debate, which isn’t really news, or debate.  

Turning your back on the editors is the discovery goal of your writing.  To stop counting the pages.  Write and keep writing scenes and sequences past the point where you’ve found what matters – the most emotional point, the biggest laugh out loud moment, the true content and guiding theme of your script.  Don’t let yourself be stuck.  Don’t go back and overthink.  Write to the finish and beyond – then edit the unnecessary when you have created the many moments of content and emotion needed to lift it beyond a “selling screenplay”, which is virtually a euphemism after all.


I’ve just started organising informal WRITING & DEVELOPMENT MEETINGS IN DUBLIN open to beginner and experienced screenwriters, with the goal of generating new film projects in 2017 of my own and others.  Some of the things I’m working on at the moment include personal and co-written feature films, a group-written sitcom, a collaborative comedy web series, and the basis of a future sketch show and branded website, so writing and development rather than production will be at the front of my mind for the next few months.  Inviting fellow writers and film professionals to an ongoing writing and development discussion which drives and inspires my new projects and theirs seems a good way to be beneficial to everyone’s writing.

We’ve so much creative empathy to replace from the losses of 2016 anyway!

Some details below of this FREE screenwriting development idea.



If interested in coming along to a screenwriting meet-up..

CONTACT : driftwooddollfilms@gmail.com

Get writing!

-Michael O’Dwyer

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