Junk file

Back in 2010 (remember that?) the excellent Mr Arnopp wrote a blog post about Running Notes.

I do that, I make running notes; but it got me thinking: are there other techniques we use which may not be universally used?

Is there anything you do which you assume every other writer must do … but what if they don’t?

For example, I use a junk file for every script. Anything which gets edited out during the writing of that draft, gets dumped into the junk file. I keep every draft, subsequent drafts are saved as a new file; but every now and then I write a page or two in the current draft and the next decide it’s shit or takes up too much room – rather than just deleting it from the draft forever, it gets moved to the junk file.

The reason I do this is because I once wrote a segment for a Horror anthology movie which had to be 12 minutes long. I hit page 6 and realised it was going to be too long, so I edited it down to make space for the end. All well and good.

During a discussion with the producer I told him about the original beginning and he got all excited (a horrible state of affairs) and asked if he could read it … but he couldn’t, I’d deleted it. Which left him looking all sad (an even worse state of affairs – a sad producer looks like a kitten which has fallen into a toilet).

Never wanting to be in that situation again, I set up the junk file system and now I never lose anything. Ever. Except when I forget to do it, in which case I do lose it. Quite frequently, in fact.

So there you go, the junk file. Do you use one?

What else do you do that I should?

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Categories: My Way | 7 Comments

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7 thoughts on “Junk file

  1. I never delete anything. If I’ve added a bunch of crap to a script, I take a copy of the whole thing before deleting the crap and going again.

    I keep copies of scripts that I’ve sent to producers in a separate folder structure along with a copy of the covering letter/email. That folder tells me the name of the person I sent it to and the date. If the scripts I sent subsequently change, I’m able to read the version I sent to the producer (and inevitably see how crap it was and how I should have redrafted before sending).

    Each of my project folders has an ‘archive’ folder. Everything goes in the archive folder except the current draft, current sxs, current outline, current pitch etc.

    Umm…that’s it.

    • I like the idea of keeping letters and script versions together and was wondering why I don’t do that … then I remembered, I don’t get time to write anything on spec – everything is for someone, so I automatically associate one producer with each script – everything gets stored by draft order, the current draft is always the latest draft.

      Having said that, checking through my original half dozen spec scripts – I did it the other way round – there were multiple drafts in the main project folder and the latest was in a folder marked ‘current’.

      As in latest, not raisin.

      • Multiple drafts in the main project folder? Eugh. That’s like scattering all your clean pants on the floor and putting the dirty ones in the drawer.

        Actually, that’s a very poor and rather strange analogy that doesn’t stand up very well at all.

  2. One of the many beautiful things about Dropbox is that it automatically saves every new version of a script file – every time you close the file, I believe. So all your versions of files are there, in case you suddenly remember that really cool dialogue you wrote between the porcupine and the galactic dust.

    Even though Dropbox does this, I also save a new version of a script file on a daily basis, using Save As and renaming the file with the new day’s date. Doubly covered!

    Hmmm. And if I start a junk system, I’ll be trebly covered. That sounds good.

    • Ah, but the junk file isn’t for at the end of the day – it’s for as you’re writing the first (or current) draft. It’s for those moments when you realise you’ve taken a page to write something you could sum up in one sentence and just delete everything you’ve taken an hour or so to write.

      Unless you save a new draft every time you write something you’re not 100% pleased with?

  3. Working as part of a trio, I often write a draft, send it to my writing partners and they rework it, and then convert it to the format the publisher prefers. However, that’s a really annoying format to write in, so if I have any changes to make to what they’ve done, I’ll amend the ORIGINAL version and they have to do the converting all over again. I call it Uncooperative Writing.

  4. Pingback: 2011 « The Jobbing Scriptwriter

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