November 22

One for Me

In his books about the creative process, author Steven Pressfield shares an ethic that is common among screenwriters in Hollywood: “One for the studio, one for me.”

“One for the studio” means that to do your job, you need to do work—in this case, write screenplays—that matches the expectations of the people paying the bills and not worry so much about whether it satisfies you creatively. This might mean cranking out a summer action sci-fi script that hits all the expected notes for such a movie.

However, “one for me” means that you also need to have some cre- ative work in process that satisfies you creatively and may be on the less practical side commercially. This might be a side project or something on the back burner that you’re working on as a way to grow your skills and take creative risks or to express yourself in ways that your on-demand work won’t allow.

When you slip toward a “six for the studio, one for me” approach, it’s easy to begin to lose your heart. It feels like you are cranking out wid- gets to match everyone else’s specs but aren’t able to scratch your own creative itch.

Adopt the “one for the studio, one for me” approach to ensure that you are keeping your creative fires stoked.


Are you too lopsided in how you are leveraging your creativity at the moment? Do you need to develop a personal project to help you keep the embers burning?

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