What's your rewrite process?

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  • #16
    Opinions On Rewrites?

    Originally posted by Juno Styles View Post
    hey so do any of you send it to get official coverage from a reader (pay) or do you just use your friends, family, etc for their opinions?
    Ouija board.
    JEKYLL & CANADA (free .mp4 download @ Vimeo.com)

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    • #17
      Re: What's your rewrite process?

      Here's a long arsed break down of what I did with my first full script (in regards to number of rewrites, and why) which is currently in development with producers.

      I completed my first real script in six weeks. Week seven I read it several times to fix spelling and grammatical mistakes. Week eight I printed it out and read the hard copy two or three times so I catch any mistakes I missed on the computer. I then sent out my technically error-free copy to five honest friends (2 of which are writers) for feedback. I got profusely positive comments back, but ironically, the two people who loved it most pointed out a couple issues they had trouble understanding and/or thought should be considered as something to work on. The following week I re-read it and realized they were completely right. I implemented slight changes accordingly over the course of a couple weeks, and sent it back to them. They re-read it a second time and had no other issues at that point.

      I then sent it to some industry friends for feedback and potential interest, and even a couple random queries just for kicks. A month or so passed, and my industry friends loved it, and I got two hits on the queries. One was a manager at a decent firm who offered representation but quickly showed himself to be a highly immature wannabe writer with no ability to be open to creative discussions (he was all about barking orders instead of working together), so I walked away from him. The other hit was a trainee at a top agency who read it, loved it for the most part, but had two issues which caused him to pass, but still be open to my future work. I then re-read my script, considered the feedback from the trainee, and did a slight rewrite to fix what he felt were two issues that might hold it back from being an easy sell.

      At the same time he was reading it, I had a producer friend read it, love it, and agree to work with me on it. I showed him my latest revision (which was the result of the agent trainee's feedback), and he loved it even more. We then put together a one sheet, and he made plans to send it to his investors and a top agency to land a director. But just last week, he decided to show it to a writer friend he trusts just for extra feedback and the guy came back with mostly positivity about it, but expressed one major issue which my partner agreed with. My producing partner feels it's we're very close and generally it's good to go, but it just needs this last revision to be "perfect". So now, I'm doing a slight rewrite based on this feedback (though finding middle ground creativity so we both get what we want out of the change), and as a result we'll be back on track to start pitching, with him as confident as ever in it, within the next week or two.

      So after all is said and done, the script will have gone through about 3 slight rewrites and a handful of minor tweaks over the course of about six months. Thankfully, all in all the overall intention, primary scenes, pacing, and structure of the script have remained intact and every single person who's read it from day one has generally loved it, it's just needed outside opinions and small constructive criticisms to help bring it from good, to great, to "perfect".

      What I've learned is, while some criticisms are hard to stomach, if they come up more than once from separate sources, then clearly there's something to it, especially if they come from people who generally love your work overall and clearly just want to see it succeed. Another thing I've learned is the best people to work with are those willing to meet you halfway, and willing to make creative development collaborative process. The second you start working with someone who is all about telling you what to do instead of telling you what they'd like to see happen and the two of you discussing how to make it work for everyone involved, you're in for a massive, battle-field headache of a creative process (if you care about preserving your work anyway). Sure, if you're just starting out you can't always choose who you work with, but you can at least be on alert and prepared for what you're in for.

      P.S. I should also make it clear, I have never paid anyone a cent to read this screenplay. I personally just don't believe in forking over cash to someone to read my work, especially when that person usually doesn't have a respectable credit to their name. I first ask for feedback from my truest friends (the ones who aren't afraid to call me on my personal sh*t and therefore I know will be honest about my work). I then get feedback from fellow writers in exchange for giving them feedback on their work whether now or in the future. And I then send it out to industry professionals whether they be close friends, people who owe me return favors, or simply strangers reached via query. If you can avoid paying someone to read your work, I highly advise that you do (avoid it).
      Last edited by scripto80; 04-04-2010, 01:14 PM.

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      • #18
        Re: What's your rewrite process?

        I get into it as soon as I write fade out. I have tried putting it away for a week or two before and it just didn't work for me. After writing a first draft, I usually have tons of things already floating in my head that needs to go on the page. I use that momentum until I get stuck again. It seems when I get stuck, it's usually an issue that I tried to avoid in the first draft as well. That's when I take a day or two to reorganize the plot and makes sense of it all. Beer and music usually keeps me preoccupied during the break. Then read through the whole thing again to find out why I wrote it in the first place. When something cool comes to mind, sometimes a couple of good changes or twists come unexpectedly, I use that momentum again and type away. I can't write like most people who just force themselves to sit there and wait and then type the story out of them.
        I have never paid for coverage but I might try Screenplay Mechanic or Julie Gray just for the experience. Can't knock it till ya try it.

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        • #19
          Re: What's your rewrite process?

          After typing FADE OUT there needs some decompression time. After that, I'll read it through again, perhaps just focusing on different elements after different read throughs (like just dialogue or action or sluglines), then trusted readers get a look and I tend to revises after each set of notes and just try and keep the light at the end of the tunnel and repeat and rinse the whole process until it's in a place where I can present it in a way that looks 50% proffessional.

          EJ

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          • #20
            Re: What's your rewrite process?

            ^I agree, decompressing is key at some point. You absolutely HAVE to step away and not even think about it at some point, for some length of time whether it's a day or a month, then when you go back with fresh eyes you always spot things you can work on from a creative standpoint.

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            • #21
              Re: What's your rewrite process?

              Once I think I've got it, I'll upload to TriggerStreet and or pay for coverage.

              However, I'll usually read through my PDF and write down notes.

              page 1: typo
              page 2: rewrite slugline
              page 3: umm wow, that's some horrible writing, DO IT OVER!

              That's mainly for how the script looks and reads. The hard part comes when you realize you've created a convoluted mess and need to redo structure and plot.
              Screenplay Questions & Answers - http://screenplayqa.com

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