Don’t Fear the Filler

I’m currently working on a feature screenplay and found myself facing some resistance. I wasn’t certain how to approach a particular scene, and, despite having the rest of the script outlined, didn’t want to just go work on another part of it. So instead the script languored for something like three or four days, without any progress made.

I left myself a note in my journal that might be helpful for you, too, if you find yourself in a similar situation:

Don’t be afraid to leave filler text when a scene feels like a block. The only reason you feel resistance to [insert x scene here] is because you’re being too precious with the first draft. It’s the first draft of many. Plow forward.

It helped me to bracket out that scene, with a single beat of action, that I knew I could circle back to later. And sure enough, a day or two after writing other parts of the script, I knew how to address the problem scene that had kept me in arrears.

I’d like to write more about resistance in the future, and how it works to keep us from doing our work. We have to do whatever we can to get around it. For now, don’t fear the filler.

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