I rarely link to other screenwriting blogs 'cause you're probably reading them. But this one from John August seems particularly cool and I don't want you to miss it.
The question is "how do I keep rewriting when I've lost perspective." August offers three techniques
- Challenge yourself to remove one seemingly important scene. Imagine what would happen if the actor you needed died during production, and that scene never got shot. Could you work around it? Could you make the movie better for its absence?
- Push yourself to use better words. Particularly in the back half of a script, there’s a tendency to get a bit sloppy and repetitive. Make that scene description on page 98 as sharp as it was on page 13. Here’s a test: Are you using “there are?” If so, you could do better.
- Imagine a secondary plot that we’re not seeing. Like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, perhaps there’s an offscreen adventure taking place that a reader will never see. Only you as the writer will know it’s there. Dangerous? Sure. But on your fifth draft, a little danger may be what you need.
Each of these is the moral equivalent of standing on a chair to help find your wallet. You'll see the terrain differently. Try it.
Recently someone passed my expensive zombie script onto a director who mostly makes low budget films, so I started thinking about what I'd do if he asked me to lower the budget. I came up with some pretty nifty ideas of how to change the most expensive scenes and keep the action intact.
That was also a neat exercise, and now if he says it's too expensive I have options to suggest.
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