Friday, January 30, 2009


So there I am  with this 95-page-piece-of-shit-script I'd spent 3 months writing.

I knew it was bad, and I knew it was my fault: like I said earlier, it's my creative writing inexperience, much like the drawings you from a five-year-old. You can see the basic elements in place, but they really don't come together in any meaningful form.

At that age, the kid has this image in it's mind and it dumps it onto paper, but it's an entirely one way process, there is no evaluation of the drawing. In time, the kid learns to LOOK and SEE on that piece of paper and reassess this image to see if it matches the mental image.

Considering some of the diabolical things I've seen painted, written, or tasted from adults(that's right, this theory applies also to cooking) most people then DO NOT learn how to then continually keep critically evaluating their creation and improving it until it is finished.

And a 90 page script is a very hard thing to understand and have a handle on, since it's all about structure, structure, structure - which take a long time to be able to picture in ones mind.

But to be honest, the shame of holding this fucking turd of a script in my hand was enough of a kick up the ass for me to want to LEARN how to critically evaluate my own writing.

All I wanted to do was DIRECT A MOVIE,  not sit in my bedroom and learn to write the fucking thing -- but I had little choice.  A book I have on screenwriting says that writing a movie is actually all about re-writing.

Roughly around this time I got an email from a good friend (himself a writer/director) his advice was very important and I paid careful attention to it:

Don't shoot until you have a really good script. Young directors are just burning with the desire to shoot their first feature, so much so that they think the script doesn't matter.  They focus on the deal or the production team and not enough on the fact that without a GREAT script, your film will suck, never get released, lose your investors' money and consign your career to the scrap heap. Even with a great script you can end up with a bad film, it happens all the time, even to great directors -- but a good film coming from a so-so script? that has never happened.

Effectively I deleted 90% of the script and started again, but concentrating this time on elaborating and exploring those KEY ELEMENTS in my head which I knew worked. I studied structure and broke down each element into it's basic components and tried to fit them together as best as I could.

That 'first' piece-of shit-draft took me 3 months. 

This second draft took me another 10 months of sitting and hacking away at keys. 

But this time, the consensus was that it was a massive improvement on the first. Amusingly enough, it has later been revealed to me that most writers after having their first drafts torn apart, go away, re-jig it and effectively re-write it the same way, with the same problems. Luckily for me, the shame of the first draft made sure I wouldn't fuck it up again.

But the trouble was not over for me. After this I did another major overhaul, which incidentally was THEN TORN TO SHREDS for managing to lose the heart and soul of the story. So I rejected the overhaul, returned to draft 2 and refined it until I had what is presently considered to be a good script.

It's continued to evolve, but this whole process has taken me about 18 months. And, even if I *DO* get the funding to this movie, as I hope to, there will be more writing ahead.

Le sigh.

Coming soon:

How not to raise the finance.

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