Mark Duplass Tips to Handle the “This Is No Good” Voice and Get Your “Vomit Draft” Out
There is a lot to Mark Duplass‘ keynote speech at SXSW, but I’ve decided to start with his tips on writing and dealing with the this is no good voice, the one that can stop you from finishing a screenplay (or anything really). The one that comes way too quickly after the dopamine released by the flash of a good idea has faded away.
It just so happens I am exactly at that stage, stuck two-third in a feature screenplay I know has potential but can’t get past the “this is no good” (to put it mildly) voice that popped-up after I’ve scrolled up on my Final Draft (big mistake) read couple of scenes, and felt nauseous.
I’m thinking some of you might be in the same situation, and my hope is that you will found Duplass’ no-nonsense, practical tips as helpful as I did.
Here are Mark Duplass three tips to move forward with your creative work:
1 – Embrace the This Is No Good Voice
“The this is no good voice is great, and it’s one of your great assets, because it’s going to help you from making something bad. If you have the bliss gene and you go like this is awesome! you’re never going to know that it sucks. So that’s a good thing, accept it, earn it, and go do some therapy; you’ll get through that.”
2 – Don’t Write Your Vomit Draft, Narrate It
“A couple of tricks for when you’re writing, I find it’s very bad to write on Final Draft or programs like that because you can see what you’re writing and you’re thinking to yourself ‘Oh god, this is garbage, this is garbage‘.
So try this trick where you can take a little dictaphone, or a recorder, and you speak out your script into it. You can’t see the words, also you can’t go back, so it’s linear, and it forces you to get a vomit draft out. And you accept it.
Because this is a vomit draft it’s going to be stinky, that’s fine, no big deal.
Your dialogues will all sound the same because you’re talking, and your scene descriptions will not be eloquent because you’ve talked them out, but you’re going to get impeccable pacing. Because your body knows how to pace a movie because you sat in front of so many movies.
And so then you can click into that other side of your brain, the this is no good brain, and start empirically editing that thing. And that’s a nice little trick for me.
3 – Forget the Author’s Cave, Share Your Process With Your Community and Ask for Help
“Also involving your friends, and your peers, in every way, shape and form in the process to take the voice off of you for this is no good and put it onto them and let them help you.
You’ll stop beating yourself up as much if everyone else is voicing and helping you guide this thing.
People don’t do that enough. I find a lot of people that get caught up in this author bullshit, like “This is my vision and I’m making it my way.” and it’s just like… “No! Making a movie is impossible, you need help, you need people you know, and love, and trust to help you guide this stuff.”
So a community will really help you with that.”
This last point doesn’t go without reminding me of Amanda Palmer’s book, The Art of Asking, that is part of the Unconventional Resources for Filmmakers and that has proved a life changer for me in a very short amount of time.
If you feel isolated, or are struggling to ask others for help, read this book. Seriously.
In the meantime, you can watch Mark Duplass full keynote below, and if you can’t find the time, fear not, I will soon come back with more about it (although I still think you should listen to it!)