A complete re-vision -- how?

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  • A complete re-vision -- how?

    My advisor finally read my completed script. I've been working on this thing for over two years and I thought I was "done." Well, with the exception of changing some dialogue, adding/cutting a few scenes and reworking the ending.

    He wants me to completely rewrite the script. Apparently, the spine is good, but everything else needs to be reworked completely. I have to go back and completely recreate my main character.

    So my question is how do I get a completely new perspective on something that I've known for so long? I don't disagree with 99% of what my advisor says, but I'm not sure how to do it.

    He loves the action of the ending, but I have to re-arrange all of the people in it and completely change how we get there. I've known it for so long, and I'm not sure I can see it differently, but I know I have to, so how do I do that?

    Thanks

  • #2
    Re: A complete re-vision -- how?

    By starting another script. Yep, you heard me. Start something fresh,
    something new and work on that for awhile. Then come back to the old
    script after about six months and you'll see things you didn't see before.

    I'm working on my first script, wrote that one in 2001.

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    • #3
      Re: A complete re-vision -- how?

      Yeah, write something else, read lots of scripts, watch films, distract the hell out of yourself, and hopefully come back to it afresh determined to beat it to death with a donkey.

      -Derek
      My Web Page - shameless vampyre fiction & other shameless writings.
      Well, I've heard people talking. A lot of 'em think she's some kind of high-functioning schizophrenic. But I also heard that maybe... Like, maybe she could help with this kind of thing. Do you think we should go get her?
      Just One Scene contest
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      • #4
        Re: A complete re-vision -- how?

        What Charli says is good advice.

        If you have to do a rewrite now, then consider the following:

        Rethink the journey by which the Main Character gets from beginning to end. I suspect that you need some twists and turns to create more conflict and interest.

        Do you make the reader care about your character? Does the reader really get to know who your character is?

        Do you have a subplot? A subplot can help give dimension to the main story.

        Is there an Antagonist? Does the Antagonist represent a credible threat to the goal of the Main Character? Is the Antagonist believable? Does the Antagonist have complexity, or is he/she a stereotype with no real human depth?

        Are your secondary characters interesting? Or do they just function as sounding boards for the Main Character?

        Try this, too. Pretend that this is someone else's script. You have been given an assignment to rewrite it, and you have been given a free hand to change it in any way. Someone has said, "We like some of it, but it's weak and flabby. Turn this into something different, with teeth. Change it however you would like."

        "The fact that you have seen professionals write poorly is no reason for you to imitate them." - ComicBent.

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        • #5
          Re: A complete re-vision -- how?

          If he likes the end and the spine then trying rewriting backwards.

          Originally posted by echo2218
          My advisor finally read my completed script. I've been working on this thing for over two years and I thought I was "done." Well, with the exception of changing some dialogue, adding/cutting a few scenes and reworking the ending.

          He wants me to completely rewrite the script. Apparently, the spine is good, but everything else needs to be reworked completely. I have to go back and completely recreate my main character.

          So my question is how do I get a completely new perspective on something that I've known for so long? I don't disagree with 99% of what my advisor says, but I'm not sure how to do it.

          He loves the action of the ending, but I have to re-arrange all of the people in it and completely change how we get there. I've known it for so long, and I'm not sure I can see it differently, but I know I have to, so how do I do that?

          Thanks

          Last night in San Pedro

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: A complete re-vision -- how?

            If you have to do a rewrite now
            It does seem like that's probably the case. Since it's echo's adviser who's asking for the rewrite, he probably doesn't have the luxury of writing another script or two and then going back to this one six months from now.

            Putting a script aside and working on something else, rather than immediately revising it, is good advice if it's a spec no one is waiting to read. But if you're in something like a screenwriting class -- or if you're getting paid to write -- it's simply not going to be possible to put your latest script in a drawer until you finish another one. If echo does have to do this revision right away, it'll be good practice for the real world.

            One thing I'd add to the suggestions here is to see if you can identify your theme. What's the script trying to say? Maybe the events of the story, the conflicts and their resolution, subtly say "Without trust, friendship can't survive." Or maybe the story says "In war, no one ever wins."

            Or maybe it says something completely different. Can't even guess without reading it. But once you know your theme, you can go back and find ways to alter dialogue, scenes, settings, etc. -- all with the idea of setting up that theme and making sure every scene supports and leads up to the resolution that confirms that theme. When you do that, you can't help but make your story tighter and more coherent.

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            • #7
              Re: A complete re-vision -- how?

              The complete revision is due on October 30. It is my graduate thesis and if it isn't accepted, I don't graduate. Granted I'm thinking about taking the semester off to (not) work on it.

              I knew what the theme was from the beginning, but unfortunately, I'm the only one who got it. It doesn't appear in the script, well, it does, but something would have to make the connection.

              I have to start from the very beginning. I'm so sick of this script and these characters, but maybe that will work in my favor. Maybe I have to do something really strange with them in order to make them more interesting to me--2 years I've been working on this one script.

              Okay, I like the idea of pretending it is someone else's work and I have to rewrite it. That may give me a different pov. The funny thing is I know what's wrong with the script, I'm just not sure how to fix it.

              I appreciate the help with this.

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              • #8
                Re: A complete re-vision -- how?

                Do a fresh draft starting from page 1. Pretend that the previous draft was written by another writer or something.

                I find that a lot of writers want to keep certain scenes, piece of dialogue, story beat, turning point, subplot etc. As a result, they end up going through their existing draft page-by-page where they merely edit/tweak bits here and there. That, IMO, is not a rewrite at all.

                Force yourself to change everything completely. Kill everything in your previous script. Ignore that your script even existed in the first place. Don't even look at it when you're doing your rewrite. Start from page 1.

                Tackle it from a completely different angle. Change your opening scene - set it somewhere else, at another timeframe in your world. Change the sex of your protagonist. Give him/her a kid. Kill the love interest at the end. Give the protagonist an ailement. Give him/her a countdown. The advisor likes the action sequence at the end? Get rid of it anyway and write an even better action sequence. Set it somewhere else. Make it more exciting, more riveting, more clever.

                Basically, imagine that all you have to start with is the concept, the idea. And write the story. Just remember to force the changes. But excite yourself, believing it's gonna be a much better script. And that's it's gonna knock that "other writer" right off his feet.

                That's my $0.02

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                • #9
                  Re: A complete re-vision -- how?

                  So this is for a class? I was going to say, show the script to someone else and see what they think. But if you're going for a grade, do what the prof says but don't throw the bady out with the bathwater, so to speak.

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                  • #10
                    Re: A complete re-vision -- how?

                    Originally posted by echo2218
                    -- how do I get a completely new perspective on something that I've known for so long?
                    This is always the hardest thing to do, no matter how long you've been writing.

                    Take a "top-down" approach. Start with the log line and from this write a synopsis and then a treatment which will include a description of characters, character arcs, action, etc. - broken down by acts, of course. Any sub-plots identified as such. Then do a "beat sheet" just a couple of sentences about each scene. Number them, even though they won't be numbered in the script. Then write it scene by scene but NOT IN THE RIGHT ORDER. Throw dice to pick the next scene to write at random. The point here is to break your mentail connection with the original script. Might not work for you, but I've found it helpful.

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                    • #11
                      Re: A complete re-vision -- how?

                      Maybe you can "cleanse the pallet" for a week or two. Go see a bunch of movies, mainly ones you think you will like, and maybe watch some dvd's of movies that inspire you.

                      If you have time, read a few books that you haven't read before.

                      This kind of thing works for me after I have finished a project and before I start another, because I get temporarily invested in these new stories, and can distance myself from the old project and the new one.

                      The hope is to read/watch creative stories that invigorate me, and allow my own creative process to work it's magic when I am ready to return to my own writing. Maybe this could work for you as well?

                      Good luck!

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