This post is by Jason Hellerman from No Film School

Hollywood is a town where everyone wants to know what you’ve done lately. That drive to always have a new success or new announcement can lead people to obsess over the amount they have going on.

I often find myself asking the question, “Am I doing enough to make it in this industry?”

And it’s good to know I’m not alone.

Earlier today, I was perusing Reddit Screenwriting, and came across this question: “Is it better to work on one screenplay at a time or multiple?”

I thought about this for a long time and have my opinion.

Let’s dive in.


The Pros and Cons of Working on Multiple Screenplays at Once

Two Spider-Mans pointing at each other in 'Spider-Man'

In the world of screenwriting, the blank page is both a daunting adversary and a canvas of infinite potential. As writers, we grapple with numerous questions that shape our creative process.

One such conundrum is whether to juggle multiple screenplays simultaneously or to channel all our energy into the meticulous crafting of a single masterpiece.

This decision is pivotal, influencing not only our writing practices but also the trajectories of our stories—and perhaps our careers

So, let’s look at some pros and cons.

Working on Multiple Screenplays:

  • Diversity of Ideas: Working on multiple projects can keep a writer’s ideas fresh and provide a creative outlet for different genres or stories.
  • Productivity and Momentum: When stuck on one screenplay, a writer can switch to another project to maintain productivity.
  • Marketability: Having several scripts ready can be beneficial when meeting with potential agents, managers, or producers, as it shows versatility and productivity.

Focusing on a Single Screenplay:

  • Depth of Engagement: Focusing on one screenplay allows for deeper immersion into the story and characters, which can lead to a more nuanced and polished script.
  • Mastery: Concentrating on a single project can help a writer thoroughly understand and apply the craft of screenwriting to produce a high-quality script.
  • Clarity of Vision: Without the distraction of other projects, a writer may be more likely to maintain a clear vision and voice throughout the screenplay.

Well, Should You Be Working on Multiple Screenplays at Once?!

John Boyega as Fontaine, Teyonah Parris as Yo-Yo, and Jamie Foxx as Slick Charles in 'They Cloned Tyrone'

Right off the bat, I’m going to tell you that there is no “right” answer to this question. All of it boils down to how you work the best.

At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is that you have a great spec screenplay to sell or help you break into the industry.

The only reason I am personally in favor of working on multiple thing at once is because I think it’s always good to exercise different parts of your brain. Working on more than one thing at a time can help inform the others.

I have seen too many people waste years of their life on one story, instead of writing multiple projects that help hone your skills.

I will say that when you’re starting out, you should just focus on finishing one thing. That will give you a leg up on believing in yourself and knowing what you can do.

But as time goes by, and you become a professional, it’s always good to have several irons in the fire, so you’re not living and dying with one project.

Embarking on the screenwriting journey requires navigation through personal preference, creative rhythm, and strategic career planning.

Whether you choose to diversify your portfolio by cultivating an array of screenplays or opt to hone a singular narrative to perfection, remember that each writer’s path is uniquely their own.

What resonates as true for one may not hold for another. The key lies in recognizing and embracing the process that kindles your creative fire, maintaining the passion for storytelling that propelled you to pick up the pen in the first place.

Now, go get writing.