Film Courage: So let’s suppose…let’s have it be one [project that Christine is working on] because I’m really curious how you spend your time and how you organize [your day]. If you have 4 weeks to write a first draft for one [screenplay], what’s your work schedule going to be like?
Christine Conradt: My process is a little different than most people. I write 15 pages a day. So basically I figure out when it’s due and I back out 15 pages per day and I take into consideration if I’ve got something going on in the afternoon. Like today is not a 15 page day because I’m with you guys.
Film Courage: Thank you!
Christine Conradt: And then I work until those 15 pages are done. So if I’m done at 3:00 o’clock because I had a great writing day and it went really smoothly fantastic. If it takes me until 9:00 o’clock, it takes me until 9:00 o’clock and then that’s when I end my day. It helps me to do that because I keep on track and I also I don’t get caught up in my own “Oh my gosh! I’m loving this. I just want to keep going.” Because that can happen to, when you’re really on a role writing you will…I mean I’ve had that happen where you don’t eat and you just keep working through the night and you’re just so excited about what you’re writing. That’s fine but you can’t make a living living that way, right?
You have relationships and I have people and dinner to make and things like that and so I stop when I (this is my way of doing it), I stop at 15 pages and that’s it and pick back up tomorrow and start again.
Film Courage: Wow. Were you always so precise with it? I mean that’s amazing.
Christine Conradt: Yeah. It kind of feels very…I know that seems very technical, for something that is so creative. But again, like I said before, you have to look at this like a business, right? So you have to plan and organize and figure out what’s giving you the best results and for me, this gave me the best results. Because I know at page 11, I only have a few more pages to do and I can be done. And at the beginning of every day I start out and I go “Okay, that’s enough.” It’s a big enough chunk that I’m not forcing myself to go back and reread. That’s a deadly thing that writers do is they go back and they rewrite themselves over and over. So it forces you to keep moving through and then you do your rewrite at the end.
Film Courage: So once those 110 pages are done (or whatever), that’s when you go back?
Christine Conradt: That’s when I go back. And I build in a couple of days off because you need that time away from it to kind of forget about it a little bit and then when I come back, I reread it. I give myself 2 or 3 days to do the rewrite and it’s basically just cleaning everything up or changing act breaks or if I’ve come up with an idea in between that time to add, then I’ll do that.
Film Courage: That’s great because you want to think that you are your own boss but really the network is your boss. You’re working for them but you’ve also got to monitor yourself. That sounds like a great way to keep yourself on track so you’re not doing 2 pages a day, but you are not burning yourself out.
Christine Conradt: Right. And I think also think you can get obsessed with “Is the writing good? Is it not good? Do I like this? Do I not like it?”
When you have to get those 15 pages done, eventually you have to say “Screw it. I’ve got to move on.” It forces you to move on. Which I think is good for the process because nothing really good comes from sitting there obsessing over the same scene. So, it is what it is. I’ve moved on. I can come back to it and giving yourself permission to do that I think is very healthy and I think it’s actually good for the process and the product.
Film Courage: Let’s suppose you have 3 projects going. Are you still doing 15 pages [a day]?
Christine Conradt: It depends. So…yes, 15 pages on something. Some writers will say I’m going to do 7 pages on this project in the morning and then 7 pages later. I don’t do that. I say “Okay, I’m doing 15 pages on this and taking 3 days off to work on the next project and then I come back to it. So that’s how I organize it. I have a hard time splitting it up and trying to work on different multiple projects in the same day, especially at 15 pages. I think if you were doing fewer maybe, but 15 is pretty ambitious.
Film Courage: Yeah, that sounds difficult if the stories are so different or you just want to keep the character and all of that separate and to have to split it up in one day for your mind.
Christine Conradt: It’s worse when they are actually similar. Like if they are both projects for the same network or they are both thrillers because that’s when it gets confusing. It’s actually better when you are doing like a romantic comedy and then also working on a thriller because they’re so different, you don’t mix those characters up at all.
Question for the Viewers: How many pages do you write everyday?
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