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Old 08-17-2019, 03:16 PM   #5
finalact4's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 2,709
Default Re: Nearing completion - what's next?

you need to rewrite it.

first, send it to other writers-- their notes will be the best, tell them not to hold anything back. you want honest notes and you want the notes to be given with your intention and vision in mind. you do not want notes from a writer that tells you how they would write it.

Friends and family are good, but if they don't understand story and structure they can give you bad advice without intending to. have them tell you anytime they are confused, don't believe something, feel a "speedbump" you know, when something stops them from reading and try to "figure out" what you meant. ask them to tell you what made them feel any kind of emotion. what's funny, clever, heartbreaking... those are the kind of notes anyone can give and can help you a great deal.

ideally, you want people to review your work who are better at it than you, and have done it before. that's where you'll get the best notes.

pay for professional reader notes, if you can afford it. submit it to the black list and pay for two reviews to see where it lands.

you said you're outside the US, so find out if there's any type of film industry and start networking with other writers.

consider every note carefully. you know your intentions, so you are the first line of defense for your story.

not every note is valid. sometimes notes come from being confused or misunderstanding something in the story. that's on you, the writer to clarify the writing to correct this.

if a note doesn't fit with your vision strike it. keep only the notes that you understand, can execute well, and that make the story and characters better.

don't get defensive about your writing when you receive notes. if you think someone misunderstands your intent, explain it with the idea that when you give it clarity that the reader (whomever they are) to see if their note remains or is different.

you don't have to accept a single note. you have to decide, based on careful consideration, what you want to do with the note. execute it or delete it.

while it's out for reads here are a few passes that you can do (or not do) until your notes come back:
  • take a pass with character's voice in mind. each character should have a specific point of view, make sure that is revealed in their actions and dialogue. you might need to run each pass with only one character in mind.
  • take a dialogue pass to remove anything that does not, 1) advance the story, and/or 2) reveal character.
  • take a scene pass to make sure you don't have any "fluff" or unnecessary "chitchat" at the beginning of the scene and make certain you leave the scene as soon as it's over. delete any unnecessary dialogue regardless of how clever or funny it is.
  • take a scene transition pass examining the best way to pull you through from the last scene into the next scene. you can use a number of transition techniques: visual or auditory match cuts, distinctive size cuts (wide shot to a tight shot), a question at the end of one scene is answered in the beginning of the next scene, visual comparison in opposition, etc...
  • take a pass and identify every single story question (??) i ID them with question marks, then i find in the script where that question is answered and i write the page number next to the double ??. you want every questions you create to be answered. this has to do with audience expectation. you want to fulfill the expectations they have.
  • take a pass solely to reduce redundancy and repetitive dialogue. if you have something revealed in a scene, don't "rehash" the same information again. once is usually enough.
  • take a validation pass to determine what is and is not necessary to the story. ask yourself what would happen if you removed a scene-- this is a ruthless pass to determine what is NOT needed. if you can remove it and the story remains intact, remove it. you want to get rid of anything that drags the read.
  • take a pass designed to tighten up all your action lines. remove repetitive actions, overwriting, widows, entire lines or paragraphs. make sure your narrative is tight and easy to read. where ever you have four lines try to make them 3 or less, if you have 2 two lined paragraphs see if you can rewrite them into one paragraph.

so the basic consideration when rewriting is to improve story pacing, clarity, character, dialogue, action, continuity, and entertainment value. some of this you will have done while writing.

when you get the notes back read them, then set them aside and read them again later. try to be objective. the faster you get past the emotional part of receiving notes the faster you can get to rewriting a better script.

you know your story. it's yours. you do not have to listen to a single piece of advice, including mine, if it doesn't fit with your vision.

good luck and congratulations on finishing your first screenplay. it's no small feat.
“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,” Pablo Picasso
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