Monday, January 25, 2010

The Writing Week (Vol. 3) part 108 - Get an Outside Perspective

For the past seven months and change, I've been working with an independent producer and manager (and since October, a production company, as well) on my post-Apocalyptic spec. However, for the first year and a half that I've been developing this project, the League's feedback has been invaluable. I've consulted various Leaguers about different elements of the script on and off since June, but for the most part, they haven't been actively involved in fleshing out ideas with me for a while now. Last week, though, in order to bring them up to speed on things and (more importantly for me, at least) get the opinions of people who haven't had their head deeply in this material for two years, I brought the script back to the League.

Before I go any further, let me just reiterate something that is at the heart of the League; in our opinion, writers groups are an invaluable asset for aspiring writers. The importance of having people whose opinions you value and trust to be consistently honest and critical cannot be stressed enough. It is really only with the help of the League that I was able to get my script to a point where it attracted managers and producers. Because the feedback has been so valuable thus far, I knew that the first place I had to turn when wanting an outside perspective on the newest draft was my fellow Leaguers. 

Ask any writer and they will (probably) tell you - the more time you spend in the world of a script, the harder it can be to make sure that the readers and audience have all of the information that they need to follow the story. At this point, I've been working on this particlar script on and off for over two years, and while I've kept a close eye on it with help from my manager and producers, I know that we might be missing something valuable that, at this point, is elemental knowledge to us. 

The League met on Friday after work (a good end to the week/beginning of the weekend), and it was one of the more helpful meetings I've had in a while. My fellow Leaguers opened my eyes to a couple important aspects of the script. Not to give too much away, but over the course of the script, the protagonist's views on a couple groups operating within his world shift. The League made me realize that, while I'd done a solid job illuminating one group, I had failed to really offer much about the other, thinking that the first shift would cover both. Additionally, they helped me realize that my midpoint of Act Two scene, while functional, is not yet playing the crucial role that it can and is positioned to really achieve a lot for both the story and the main character. 

There were other things that the League helped me realize about the script, and now I feel like I'm either on the edge of a breakthrough epiphany, or will have to go back and re-work a lot of the script that will reveal itself to be flawed. Either way, my friends here at League HQ have proved themselves an incredibly important tool in my writer's toolbox and have served as the outside perspective I so badly needed to push through the final stages of this round of rewrites.