Briefly, could you explain to me your process of writing? How long does it take you to write a full screenplay? Do you listen to any music when you write?

–Justin Benton

Not only does every writer have a different process for getting words on the page, but the process often varies from project to project. Generally, most of the scripts I write have a long gestation period before a single scene is written. Since a lot of the movies I work on are studio assignments, there are inevitably a half-dozen meetings with producers, directors and studio executives before we "commit" on exactly what I’ll be writing.

I’ve written first drafts of screenplays in as little as three weeks, and as long as six months. As I’ve gotten more experience as a screenwriter, I’ve become much better at estimating how long it will take me to write a script, much like an experienced contractor will have a better idea how long it takes to build a house. In general, most studio contracts will list 12 weeks for a first draft, so I’d have to guess most writers could hand in a draft that fast.

Being easily distracted, I never listen to music as I’m writing, though I’ll often have music I use to get in the mood for a particular scene or sequence.