I'm into my third pass on The Alternative
now. Now I am
rereading my work every day, to see how it flows. I read through until I bump on something, and then I try to fix it. Could be something small -- a line, or the way a scene flows. Could be something big. For example, Jay and Vanessa's courtship isn't working. She was supposed to be too passive, though she really liked him; he was supposed to be too square. I let my love of the banter run away from me and he didn't come out that square. Or at least, it's not clear that squareness is supposed to be his problem. She's passive in some scenes but not in others. More importantly, it is not that much fun to watch someone be passive. It's almost always more amusing to watch someone be actively self-defeating.
I'm also struggling with page count. It's a little obsession of mine. It's easy to know if you've managed to knock off a couple pages; everything else is subjective and therefore much harder. The script is clocking in at 115 which I feel is long for a romantic comedy. When Harry Met Sally
is 96 minutes long. Annie Hall
is 93 minutes long
. That's the minimum length of a straight-to-DVD movie (right, Bill?).
I'm playing a little looser with the plot than I would have in the past. For example, the story takes an eight minute detour to explore one of the supporting characters, just because it feels interesting and amusing to me. In the past people have felt that my plots are too straightforward. I'm allowing myself to be a little less predictable. The plot might lose some forward momentum, but it might gain some jazz.
Or, I might wind up having to cut the last scene of the detour.