Monday, October 1, 2012

Screenwriting Tip of the Day - Oct 1st

 "Screenplays are not written ..."

... they are rewritten over and over and over again. Does this discourage you? Bore you? Push you to rush your current project so you can get to that next killer idea? Well, before you put that script down, you will want to reconsider putting the stamp of FINAL on it if you haven't taken the time to review, rewrite, review, rewrite ... 

Most new writers believe that their job is over when they type FADE OUT. Few understand or refuse to acknowledge the job is far from over. This is the time that you put it aside for a day, clear your mind's canvas, then go back and read the script.

Give it an honest read and, as the picture shows, with a red pen. You're looking for low hanging fruit like typos and grammatical mistakes as well as the dark and sinister story killers such as a lull in dramatic action, useless dialogue (i.e., banter), and missed plot points that propel the story forward.
  • Ask a friend to read and provide their feedback. They don't necessarily need to be movie lovers or screenwriters, but if they've successfully passed 9th grade English, then they can hopefully catch those mistakes that your eye has skipped over.
  • Compare your screenplay to your outline ... to your one-page synopsis ... to your treatment. How does it compare? Does it seem better and tighter than the story conveyed in these tools? Or did you overlook that scene to connect the dots or witty dialogue exchange that would be the perfect fit for your story? If so, then identify the precise place to plug 'n play your platinum pickings (whew - that exercise in alliteration hurt, even if it sounds utterly ridiculous).
  • If you can afford the investment, then use a reputable service to review your script and provide a critique. This tangents from the rewrite job required of the writer, but if you believe your script is as tight as it could possibly be, then pass it along to a reader or consultant who will provide written feedback. I find this to be the final step in the process - a service that's well worth it's salt. So start saving those pennies today!

Remember, after you've completed your first review and rewrite ... do it again ... it's not perfect ... not yet! You'll need to repeat this exercise several times (at least). As it's been said, "A screenwriter's job is not to write a script, but to rewrite, rewrite, and rewrite."

Have any additional thoughts to add? Please comment below!


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