Tamika Lamison reiterates that procrastination can indeed be considered part of script writing.
We all know the feeling we sometimes have – instead of just sitting down and writing, we start rearranging our desk, doing a load of laundry, calling a friend, or walking the dog. Anything but staring at this blank page. But what if this is part of your unique process and not necessarily a problem?
Tamika Lamison is an actress, writer, director and producer as well as an AFI alum of the directing workshop for women. Check out this interview from Courage to film where she talks about script!
At the beginning of the interview, Lamison is confronted with the question: “Is there anything you hate about scriptwriting?”
To which she immediately replies: “Yes, the beginning.”
Your script writing process looks a little different than that of most writers. She explores the challenging task of just getting started.
“The title comes to mind first,” says Lamison. “And I don’t know anyone else who does that.”
Her first successful script was like a draft. She describes it as a stream of consciousness rather than a proper script. Lamison praises those who write according to an outline – their version of an outline includes “about 2-3 pages of story concepts and character breakdowns.”
She points out that many artists are perfectionists, which makes them procrastinators. Her backward-looking way of starting allows her to avoid those early speed limits.
The “right and wrong” of scriptwriting
Lamison may not play by the rules, but that hasn’t stopped her from being successful in her craft. It expresses that she struggles with having the discipline to sit down and just write. But she doesn’t necessarily think that this discipline is the only thing that can bring creativity, it just seems to work well for other writers. It is also (for the most part) the industry standard to give a studio a script that consists of an outline.
While on the Walt Disney Fellowship, Lamison worked in the scriptwriting section of the program. She successfully came up with an idea for a TV script, but quickly realized that it had to be an outline first in order for it to be approved as a script. Because of her unique spelling, she wrote the outline based on the script that was already written. Once she had notes on the outline, she returned to her script and made changes based on where she was in her outline. A little unorthodox, but hey, you can’t make rules about creativity.
According to Lamison, this formality of requiring an outline to write a screenplay didn’t make sense in their creative process. While she understands why many writers take this approach to screenwriting, Lamison claims that it doesn’t fit her style. It even goes so far as to say that sketching it is a waste of time.
Escape the “start” process
Lamison showed us that people really are not as different from us as they seem – we are all procrastinators. As humans, we tend to do everything in our power to avoid what we should do. In this case, Lamison expresses her contempt for starting the writing process. But once you start, the rest will fall into place.
In Lamison’s words, procrastination is part of the process. And while we hesitate, our mind and body are still preparing to start writing. The settlement process can take longer for some writers, but those who are passionate always find their way back to the blank page.
And that shows that you don’t have to follow what scriptwriters or executives tell you to be creative and get work. You just need to find the process that works for you.
What is your unique process? Do you sketch? Let us know in the comments.