Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Writing Week part 24

All in all, a pretty good week. I got another draft of my post-Apocalyptic spec out. It's tough for me to gauge how it went. On the one hand, I think that the few, yet important changes I made have strengthened the script a lot. Act Two flows much better, the scenes are connected much more, and the characters' desires, especially the protagonist's, are much clearer. On the other hand, though I cut one scene here and reordered a few there, I really changed very little structurally. The vast majority of the scenes are still in this draft, and other than how they're linked and what's said within them, they are not incredibly different.

I don't know if this new draft works on a different level. If this was my first draft, I believe I would have received different notes than I got the first go around, but the League might have told me I had a more solid first draft. Having given up the impact of the first completely new draft already, I know that any future notes I get from people who have already read the script will be in light of what they know. It's inevitable, but the notes will be a comparison to what they've read before, and not a fresh take on a new project. Some larger problems that I'm not seeing might go under their radar, too. This is not to criticize the feedback we Leaguers give one another; I think we offer great insight and incredibly helpful suggestions. But a first draft will always, I think, have an inevitable air of "newness" to it that subsequent drafts, no matter how different, will lack. (Granted, I've written scripts that, by the fifth draft, are virtually unrecognizable as a descendant of the first draft. The people who read the pages since step one, though, still sometimes offer feedback that draws upon that first, wretched draft.)

This current project has gotten me thinking about something, which is probably deserving of its own post, but I'll throw it in here anyway. I've been thinking a lot about perfection versus production. By that, I mean: if an agent or a producer read my comic book script and asked for something else, I would be inclined to give him/her the post-Apocalyptic spec. But what if that script wasn't ready? Not quite. Do I go for production - I'm a young writer; if someone wants to give my $500K (I'm also optimistic) for a script that might not be as good as it could be - who am I to say no? Or, do I go for perfection - I'd be thrilled to have that opportunity present itself, yet I know, deep down, that my script doesn't quite do the justice to my idea that it could, and that if I had more time, not only could I write a movie, but I could write a great movie?

Perfection. Or Production. As a young writer, it seems ridiculous to think of turning down any opportunity. But where should I place the value of my work? I don't want to turn around one day and know I could have written a better movie, but I don't want to risk not having one produced.


Onyx Enforcer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Onyx Enforcer said...

This post is a jinx. Writing week "24" as in Kobe Bryant's 24. If the Celtics lose Game 6 tonight I'm going to burn your scripts.

Zombie said...

I tend to be in the production party. Jon mentioned sometime recently something along the lines of being young and having a lot more ideas in you. I'd have to agree... I think it's best to just get out there now. If you're not 100% happy with it, just use the freedom you'll gain from the first one to write something better.

... but I'm also in the boat where I'll hate anything I've ever written if I give it six months. While I loved my last project, I don't love it as much as the one I'm currently working on, which I probably won't love as much my next. It's an unending cycle.

I'm as guilty as anyone at this. But how does the saying go? Part of loving is letting go?

Onyx Enforcer said...

Ok, now that I've read your post, I say forget perfection...for now. My understanding as a screenwriter is that our chosen profession (or desired profession rather) is harder to break into than Fort Knox guarded by ninjas. Sure you don't want to jump at the first thing and be remembered for a poor product, but chances are you won't get as far as to have someone go for your script without the work being decent and showing promise. Either that or you have connections that allows you to get a bad script forward. And if we do have connections like that, you bastards are holding out on me.