I have been busy all weekend working on an edit/rewrite of the first draft of my new screenplay. This is always an intriguing process given that I write without an outline.
I inevitably come up with something in the latter half of a screenplay that I really like, but hasn’t been set up earlier in the script. So, I have to make sure that I go back and plant the seeds when I take my next pass.
A quick example of that in this screenplay is that it suddenly became very important to the ending that the protagonist hated his job. All weekend, I’ve been looking for the perfect place to add a line of dialogue where he talks about loathing his job.
On a deeper scale, certain themes became apparent as I was writing the second act, and now I have to set up those themes in the opening act. This can be a lot more complicated than it sounds, and it has to be done subtly without setting off a chain reaction that forces further changes throughout the screenplay.
It took me a few months to complete the first draft, so when I go back now to read the script, a lot of it is foreign to me. Some things are just downright ridiculous and have to be cut. Dialogue that seemed witty and necessary months ago, now sounds stupid or redundant.
I had completely forgotten about a little thing I did in the opening scene about the American flag, so now I have to make sure I sprinkle in references to this as I move through the second draft. If I cannot find places to do that, I’ll have to go back and remove the flag bit from the first scene.
The most important thing I’m looking for is that the story makes sense from the “FADE IN:” to the “FADE TO BLACK.” I sometimes forget that what is obvious to me in my head, might not have actually made it onto the page. For example, just because I know the character has a problem with intimacy because of a traumatic first date, doesn’t mean the reader/viewer will have any idea of that if I don’t put it on the page.
So, I’m constantly having to make sure that key pieces of character background and information haven’t been left out of the screenplay.
The worst part of it all is that I have no idea if what I’ve written is any good. I’ve lived with these characters and this story for months, first in my mind and then on the page. By the time I’ve typed “THE END”, I have lost the ability to find any entertainment in their tale. The jokes have no effect on me because I’ve rewritten them so many times to make them perfect. The twists and turns don’t surprise me because I’ve plotted them out. The characters are like annoying friends who overstayed their welcome.
Does any of this make sense, Modern Philosophers?
All I know for sure is that I love writing, and screenwriting is my favorite form of that activity. I’m just going to keep writing and hoping that people enjoy my stories and want to turn them into movies.
Enough rambling. Time to get back to work. Hopefully, all this hard work is turned into a feature film that you can all go to the theater and see someday…