Last week’s blog post wasn’t actually written last week, it was written months and months ago … and then I lost interest. So when I mentioned a script that was about ready to be sent out to trusted friends for a read through, that’s already happened and the results are in.
It’s always a nail-biting time waiting for those first opinions. Okay, so this time it wasn’t a spec script, it’s one written with a friend whose opinion I respect and trust. We’ve argued with each other and slagged off bits of the script and finally come to a consensus about what the film should be. The question now is: does what we intend come over on the page?
I mean, the version in our heads (which may or may not be the same version) sounds great and works brilliantly. It’s funny and scary and exhilarating and intriguing … but maybe we’ve talked each other into things which don’t make sense? Or maybe it just doesn’t translate properly onto paper? Maybe we’ve missed out the key bit of information which makes the protagonist as fun as we think she is?
It’s always stressful opening yourself up to critique, even when it’s just from people we know.
However, the results are in and on this occasion … the opinions are overwhelmingly positive.
Which is weird.
You’d think I’d be elated by all the positive feedback, but … well … I enjoy rewriting. I like the process of figuring out what’s wrong and how to fix it. I expect to throw away a minimum of 50% of any first draft.
An excellent first draft is fifty percent utter toss, in my ill-informed opinion.
I expect to replace roughly 50% of each new section in each subsequent draft until the fourth draft hits something reasonably coherent.
So far, that’s how this script has progressed. Draft 4-ish went out for opinions and received broadly positive comments.
Scratch that, it’s received a veritable fountain of praise.
Which has left me feeling like a puppy who’s chewed through a sofa and been petted rather than smacked with a rolled-up newspaper. I’ve got one eye still closed, waiting for the pain which doesn’t appear to be coming.
That’s not to say there wasn’t criticism, but it’s mostly about clarity of certain points. This script is a time-travel murder-mystery spanning several realities. One of the characters turns up in three different guises at two different ages. Another spends a good portion of it not existing. The story teeters right on the confusion event horizon and it doesn’t take much to miss a plot point which leaves the reader falling into the black hole of ‘huh’?
There’s all sorts of bits which will be blindingly clear on screen but which are difficult to differentiate on the page and some of these things did confuse some of the readers … but they’re an easy fix. In most cases it involves merely underlining, bolding or separating crucial sentences out into separate paragraphs.
Other things just need spelling out clearly and succinctly.
All of those things have been addressed now and apparently the script is good to go.
It remains to be seen what producers think about it since they have different criteria to writers and directors, but hopefully they’ll like it as much as everyone else has so far.
There’s still a long way to go to get this made, but it’s a nice way to start the New Year and I’m looking forward to seeing how it all pans out.