Monday, July 4, 2011

You got their advice. Now what??!

I got my (heavily redrafted) Star on the Run script read this week by my fabulous writing group fellow members and by competition judges (from BlueCat). Also by a bunch of random people as I like to get a cross-section of opinions.

So once you've got multiple recommendations on what to do next, how do you decide which pieces of advice to take, and which to ignore?

There is no right or wrong answer to this, but here's how I approach it:
  • Have two or more people said the same thing? If so, this is usually a red glowing light that something needs fixing.
  • Do you find yourself reading a line of advice and nodding your head? You know it's the right thing to do when you're immediate reaction is "Yes, of course!"
  • Do you immediately feel defensive and anxious when you read or hear the advice? Then maybe it's worth listening to - that's your gut talking!
  • Are people confirming your own suspicions, however deeply buried?
  • Does it feel like a subjective, kneejerk reaction on their part, or are their thoughts worth considering?
  • Would this person every pay to see your film? Are they able to be objective about it? I'm probably not a good person to give advice on torture porn horror, for instance, no matter how detached I try to be.
I think ultimately, you have to know in your heart what thoughts to take on board. Only you know, for example, which direction your story should go in and what the basic essence of the script is. People can sometimes suggest huge changes that might improve the script but would also strip it of the things that attracted you to it. (As a weird analogy - many people would look better with cosmetic surgery, but that doesn't mean such a drastic change is necessary. Your script is no different!)

Seek good advice, take it on board, and make your script as good as it can possibly be...

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