Years ago, in my youth, I used to spend my summers riding my bike (pedal, not motorcycle) across the country. I did my first ride when I was 20. My father and I joined a group of sixty other riders and rode across the Southern US, from Disneyland to Disneyworld. It was awesome. I saw parts of the country that I would have never thought of visiting, met some of the nicest people you could imagine and got to lose weight while eating 5,000 calories of pizza, hamburgers and Dairy Queen Blizzards. Seriously, best diet EVER.
I caught the bug to ride again the next summer and signed up to ride from Seattle to Asbury Park, NJ. I was excited to to meet new friends, see new places and feel the sun in my face and the wind at my back. Then reality struck in the form of a driving thunderstorm in my face on the plains of Montana. I remember sitting on my bike, cold and miserable, thinking, "Apparently I only remembered the good days of the last trip." I forgot about the headwind in Texas that slowed us to six miles an hour. I forgot about the heat stroke in Arizona. I forgot about sitting in front of an open 7/11 freezer in Texas because it was 110 degrees out with 95% humidity and 0% trees in sight.
It is the same way when I start a new screenplay. I have a hard time getting started because I just don't feel like I know the characters well enough. I can't see the linear path and worry about the dreaded second act. If you were to ask me a question about any character in our Industry Insider winning script, Bloodlines, I could tell you exactly what they were thinking and how they would react. I can't say the same thing about the script we are starting this week. What I always forget is that when we got the call saying we were in the finals, Dana (who was running the contest) said, "I can't wait to see how this story finishes." I responded with, "That makes two of us." I look back at that script and think, "Look how tight the story is. We had that one down." What I forget is the conversations mid script where our consultant said, "This whole B plot sucks. It detracts from the story and takes up valuable real estate for you main character development. Lose it." I also conveniently block from my mind how we were continually rewriting while still forging ahead towards the finish line (probably five rewrites in the middle of the contest).
Moral to the story? No script starts out perfectly ready to go. You are going to rewrite it. There is not a first draft in the history of cinema that was not rewritten. I always hear new writers tell me how Stallone wrote Rocky in three days. They seem to forget the part where he then went on to rewrite it several times before it was finished. In truth, I actually find rewrites to be easier and more enjoyable than the first draft. That's when you get to look at it and say, "That part sucks. The character wouldn't do that." Then you fix it. The key is to just get into it. You can't rewrite until you have that first draft.