If you already know the topic of a screenplay that you intend to write, start your research ahead of time. A great way to do this is to set up a Google Alert for relevant topics.
Once a day (or another frequency you choose), Google will email you a list of sources of information on that topic. These will be links to news articles, blog posts, press releases, and more. Don’t read them now, just put that notification into a folder on your email system.
For instance, let’s say that you are going to write a script about somebody who is humiliated on a talent show and the effect it has on his or her life. You could set up Google Alerts for “X Factor” or “America’s Got Talent” or “Britain’s Got Talent,” and “musical auditions,” and “rejection” and probably a few more.
When you get ready to devote more time to that project you can go through all these notices. Even just the titles might give you some good ideas for scenes or characters.
You can read the information that seems most relevant and add that to your research, and use those leads to dig up more. Instead of being the usual source of distraction, Google does the legwork for you while you’re doing something else.
(Jurgen Wolff’s screenwriting blog is at www.ScreenwritingSuccess.com, where you can sign up for his free monthly Brainstorm creativity e-bulletin. His most recent books are Your Creative Writing Masterclass and Your Writing Coach, both published by Nicholas Brealey and available from Amazon and other booksellers.)