Monday, June 6, 2011

Post-Rewrite: The Ritual

I pulled an all-nighter (well, until 3.00am) on Tuesday night to finish the rewrite of Star on the Run. The Austin film festival deadline was looming and Act 3 still needed tweaking. So it was that I finished at 3 and staggered off to bed with a sore back (damn IKEA chair!), having done a limp whoop on finishing the draft.

I was tired but happy the next day, until tiny, stabbing darts began to float into my brain, ruining the post-monster rewrite party. One character lied to her dad for the entire script, and during their big row, he never called her on it! Spelling mistake on the second last line. A secondary character whose function in Act 3 is unclear even to me. AND - this is a doozie, I never established at the start that one of the characters is based in Austin.

So the AFF draft isn't perfect. I have to hope that their judge isn't as pernickety as I am, that they overlook my little crimes. Because Austin is the motherload when it comes to making a rep, getting an agent, meeting producers, etc, etc. Placing there could make 2012 the best year of my life.

But there's no point in thinking about that. Instead, I'll carry on my usual post-rewrite ritual, which is as follows:
  • Wait as least five days before touching the script again. It's too soon, people. Give it some time to gestate.
  • Print out a full copy, sit down and read it. Don't analyse it, just see how it flows. Afterwards, you'll start thinking of a bunch of things that need work.
  • The next day, get a big red pen and read it again, this time writing furious notes along the lines of, "why would she say this? Fix!"
  • If the problem is dialogue, read the offending portions out loud. This awful experience will show what parts need to be cut and which ones changed.
  • If it's structure, map out the script. I currently have a series of pink Post-its taped to my study ceiling. 40 of 'em - one for every scene in the movie. It looks like something the Unabomber might have done, if he'd been into pink. Do this and stare at it, moving things around until the true story becomes clear.
  • Then rewrite the sucker again!
In other news, I've signed the option and found a lawyer to witness it. But Producer Lady and her people have still not signed their copy and sent it back to me. Does anyone know if this voids the whole thing? It's been two weeks.... why are film people so fickle?!!!

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