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Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Screenwriting Tip: The Kurosawa Method

"The world renowned writer/director Akira Kurosawa had a problem when he was a young man. He knew he wanted to be a writer who would someday direct his own scripts, but he was in a directing apprentice program that forced him to work insanely long hours. The program didn’t leave him the time and energy to write. He knew that if he wasn’t consistently writing he would never develop into a successful writer. But since he also wanted to direct, he wasn’t willing to quit the prestigious apprentice program. It was quite a dilemma.

One that Kurosawa eventually solved with a brilliant strategy.
He made a commitment to himself that he would write at least one new screenplay page every day of his life. That’s it. Just a page a day.
Kurosawa knew that there would be plenty of days he wouldn’t be physically, mentally or emotionally able to produce multiple pages. But there would never be a day that he couldn’t write at least one page.

This is brilliant for many reasons.

The War of Art explains that the enemy of writing is resistance. So when I talk to someone who wants to be a writer, but because of a genuinely hectic life isn’t doing much writing, I always wonder how much of this not writing is due to schedule demands and how much is due to resistance. The Kurosawa method gives the answer.

Anyone who makes a self-promise to write one page a day and doesn’t consistently follow through on it is getting their ass kicked by resistance. Simple as that.
The other brilliant part of the Kurosawa method is that on many days the one page somehow turns into two pages, which can sometimes turn into three pages and so forth.

Because it’s a hell of a lot easier to get into the chair when our only commitment is one page, and once we’re in the damn chair–well, we might as well just keep on writing.
When I share this tool with people they sometimes give me a look and ask how productive can someone really be writing only one page a day?

The flip answer is a hell of a lot more productive then writing no pages a day. But Kurosawa gives a much better answer in his book, Something Like an Autobiography:
“Perhaps you can write only one page a day, but if you do it every day, at the end of the year, you’ll have 365 pages.”

Which of course is a little more then three screenplays worth of pages.

Now imagine what you’d have if you wrote only two pages every day for a year."

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