Index Cards - Complications Ensue
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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I'm rewriting an old script of mine which, I discovered once I had some perspective on it, was trying to be both a romantic comedy and a coming of age comic drama, and wasn't doing either that well.

So the first thing I did was, write myself a short recap of the script, as much as possible without looking at the script. I had some new ideas for the ending, so I wrote them up too.

Then I cut it all up into index cards. That left a big hole in the middle. So I started writing index cards up to fill in the middle. Many of them were for scenes from the script. But they began to take on slightly different functions and meanings as I wrote them up anew. And sometimes they wound up in different places than they had in the script.

Then I took my index cards and wrote up a new step outline for the new draft. And ran it by Lisa.

I should really have pitched it to her out loud, ideally without looking at the cards. But she nicked the outline while I was getting a decent pen from the car and was halfway through before I got back. At least, that's my excuse to myself for not practicing what I preach.

Now I'm rewriting from the new outline. I think the new script is in many ways going to look like the old script. I'm not sure there will be that many brand new scenes. But the old scenes are going to focus better on the story, and the whole thing should hold up better.

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5 Comments:

I'm currently in the midst of outlining a new draft of an old script I did a pass at a few years ago. With all the things I learned from rewriting another script recently, I got pumped up about trying this one again. One thing I've learned (again) is to not fall in love my precious words. I haven't even re-read that first draft and it's helped a lot. Especially since the story was weak, but I loved the charcters and their arcs. Question though: How much do you write on your cards? I haven't quite gotten a handle on using cards.

By Blogger Daniel, at 3:58 PM  

Um, with a pen?

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 4:10 PM  

Uh, okay. Am I missing something?

By Blogger Daniel, at 8:33 PM  

I think you write only as much as you need on the cards, right? One card to a scene?

With a pen of course.

By Blogger Emma, at 8:45 PM  

Oh, sorry, I misread your question.

Yes. I write one beat per card.

"Zell picks a fight with Kiki and breaks up with her."

"Big car chase. Michelle gets away."

"Darth interrogates Garth. Garth tells him everything."

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 9:04 PM  

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