Deadlines Separate Professional Screenwriters and Hobby Writers by Christine Conradt

Watch the video interview on Youtube here

Film Courage: I know we’re talking about writing being very practical and business-like but it sounds like you really do have to be your own middle-manager or boss. The stress and unromantic notion of deadlines, how is this?

Christine Conradt: Unromantic notion! I love that phrase. Deadlines are the things that separate someone who writes for a hobby from someone who writes for a living and those are two very different things.

There is a stress obviously to deadlines but there is also a relief to deadlines in that once you’re done with this project it’s done. Once it shoots, you’re off of it. Otherwise when it’s your hobby, it’s sort of this project that you can work on forever, sometimes people do work on them forever. So knowing that you are going to get to the finish line and then move on to the next thing helps keep you looking forward and I actually really enjoy that.

Once of the things I didn’t like about the YMCA was dealing with the same issues over and over, the same personnel issues. You know the same two people that you’re counseling three months ago are back in your office and we’re talking about this again.


The same budgets every quarter, you’re putting them together again. It got really boring. For me, I love going full force into one project and then now I’m done. I can forget about it and now I am full force into the next thing. So that’s the beauty of deadlines.

Film Courage: Right, because I know you mentioned you didn’t totally want a day job and I get that because it is a lot of the same…whatever the dynamic is there. But then there are new problems with being on your own because there is like this free fall that could happen if you keep yourself on track (which it sounds like you’re excellent at).

Christine Conradt: I try to be.

Film Courage: Absolutely. It sounds like it. That’s a [major] skill in itself, though.

Christine Conradt: That is a part you really have to develop and (again) I always tell writers this, you’ve got to view this…because everyone sees writing as their dream job. And they have this fantasy that they get up in the morning and they are still in their pajamas and they’re petting their cats and they’re writing for two hours and it’s a wonderful existence. And it can be whatever you want it to be. You’re obviously in control of it. But you have to approach it like a business.

You’re doing it not just because you love it anymore but also to make money. There’s that whole other component and if you can balance them right you can have both. You can still love it and you can still make money.

But the money part is a big part of it because we all have bills to pay. So if that’s not for you, then keep it a hobby and enjoy the process of writing two pages a day if that’s what you like to do. That luxury goes as soon as it becomes a profession.

Question for the Viewers: Do you write to deadlines?