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Writing and Birthing

· hollywood,Screenwriting,Creativiity

I've got several projects in development right now and it occurs to me that writing a screenplay is very much like having a baby, and raising a child.

The writer is like Momma, she gestates for nine months... creation is at work, but its all happening inside her, often unseen by anyone. The writer paces and ponders, and lets creativity do it's thing through a combination of subconscious and divine magic.

Labor begins... outlining and working through the basic structure... it's a short but painful process, and she can't wait for the baby to be born, anticipation is unbearable, but the labor must precede the birth. It's the natural law of good writing.

Then the first draft is born -- in a messy, bloody, painful but glorious victory, the baby is delivered. The writer thinks the baby is perfect, but really, the work of parenting is just beginning.

For the next year, she breastfeeds, comforts, loves and nurtures this new life with multiple rewrites. But it's still her baby. She cleaves to it, protects it, and accepts help, but only in small doses.

Meanwhile, the father -- our producer (and perhaps the original seed donor haha) -- is there to hold her hand, to help, to make suggestions. But God help him if he tries to micro-manage her during the birthing and breastfeeding process! He must be gentle and judicious in his suggestions and let her do what comes naturally.

It's not until the child is ready to walk that she lets the producer step in and become a full partner in the process. Then ... Momma is ready to let him help her teach the child to walk, to talk, to read, to ride a bike. Now, they are full parenting partners. Everything is negotiated, everything is discussed in detail. It takes a long time. There are arguments. But if they are good parents, they both listen to each other and smooth out their disagreements.

If they're going to get divorced, this is when it happens (the deadbeat producers usually leave the scene during an earlier phase.)

If all goes well, another five years elapse... Daddy and Momma work together to raise the requisite funding for college, pay for daycare and script coverage, make sure their child is well educated, a polished prodigy, in the hopes that finally, one day, their child graduates from an Ivy League college and lives a prosperous life apart from them both.

And takes care of them when they're old. With residual checks. Instead of coming back home and living in their basement.