Monday, July 26, 2010

The Writing Week (Vol. 3) part 134 - Avoid the Band-Aid Solution

Last week at this time, I was hoping to hear back from the executive at the production company we're working with regarding a read-through of my post-Apocalyptic spec that two of her colleagues were doing. For the most part, they were looking to make sure that all the logic held up and that there weren't any major oversights on our part. By Thursday morning, I still hadn't heard anything (though, reading and compiling notes can always take longer than expected), so I wasn't sure if that was a good thing or not. That afternoon, though, I spoke to my producer and manager and got the scoop.

The good news was that there was nothing glaring structurally - no serious plot hole or omission that made part of the script problematic. In fact, there were not many notes at all - all things considered - and those that came back were for the most part readily doable. All in all, the production company came back with five notes. For one, they wanted the protagonist's motivation to carry out his journey to be bigger, stronger. The same went for why he is the only person who can do what he's doing. These are both things that we thought we had answered, but both readers who did cold reads came back with questions/thoughts, so it seemed the job was not yet done. I have to keep in mind that major studio pictures require sometimes obvious answers to be more so, or subtle answers to become blatant. The trick is to interweave them so they don't come off as too on-the-nose or expositional.

Another note had to do with the feel of the picture - indie versus studio, and not walking the line too finely. I've found that when writing for a budget, the writer has to be careful. Too big a set piece, on too many an action scene, and you can enter territory beyond the scope of your picture. However, too few moments like that, and you can enter into questionable size. I hadn't ever considered the latter alternative, but it's good to know about. There were a couple other notes, but to avoid getting into specifics about my script and alienating the general guide these posts are hopefully offering, I'll spare you them. Suffice it to say that, after a call with the exec today, I'm sure I can do them. We have another call tentatively set up for the end of the week to discuss specifics. I have until then to determine the best ways and places to implement them all without, as my producer says, just applying a band-aid solution. I want these notes to feel organic and fully ingrained, as opposed to just tacked on with the hopes of answering the final few questions and rushing the script sloppily out the door.