Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Writing Process: Part 6

Wow! Remember way back when, I told you how we started developing a new screenplay with a producer, and it was going to be great because he wanted it quickly and we were aiming to have it finished in January?

Well, as you know, that didn't happen. We didn't even turn in a second draft until the beginning of February. As Travis and I learned, sometimes things just take time. Glory Days took us three years to get it to where it is. Of course, that's off and on, leaving it and coming back to it...

But here are, nearly three months after turning in our 2nd draft and we're FINALLY turning in the 3rd draft. Of course, two weeks of that was waiting to get the 2nd draft notes, another month going back to the outline phase, followed by a month and a half of actual writing. Add in full time jobs, a couple of personal situations, and you've got a producer waiting a long time to read the next draft of his movie. But sometimes, things just take time.

And Travis and I took our time. First, we needed a mental shift, we got so bogged down in details that we were mission the fun of writing a script, much less a comedy, and the script was missing the funny. Once we did a mental 180 and got back into it, our writing got better and the script got better. We also took time to slowly iron our way through all the changes.

First, the big stuff: cutting nearly 20 pages of material, shifting scenes around, writing new big scenes, getting the general flow and scene order to reflect the outline we worked on.

Second, small stuff: we went through and finesses everything that changed, made sure things still lined up, that scenes transitioned well, that the character we cut didn't show up in another scene, dialogue changes to reflect the changes, etc.

Third, smaller stuff: adjusting dialogue for characters to make them stand out more, descriptions, punching up scenes and jokes and action to be funny.

Fourth, smallest stuff: proofing, editing, spell check, character checks, etc. Making sure that we didn't miss anything, that everything adds up.

Each of the four steps you see above was a separate pass on the script. After each rewrite, we'd read the script, our manager would read it, we'd make notes, and move onto the next step, ironing things out as we went.

We finally finished all that tonight. Got it to a really good place, reflecting pretty much everything the producer wanted and everything we wanted. We're not going to pretend like we won't get notes, we will. Hopefully, this draft is in the right direction, and it's a process of finessing it even more from here. Despite this being our 3rd draft, I feel like we're still trying to establish a foundation which we can build off of. We're trying to get the big things out of the way, so the notes can start getting smaller and smaller and eventually we determine that it's ready to take out. Is it now? Definitely not. But I think it's close. A couple more passes, notes from the producer, and I think we're there.

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