Monday, August 09, 2010

The Writing Week (Vol. 3) part 136 - Take a Weekend Trip

This seems to be a summer of repeating patterns for me. I get a draft turned in. A week later, notes come back. I spend the next two weeks working on them - implementing the changes and then getting the draft to my producer so that she can look everything over. Then, just before I head out of town for the weekend - usually (this summer) to go back to Arlington, VA - I send the revised version of the script to the production company we're working with. This past week was no exception.

In mid-July, we went back to the production company we're working with (in a hand shake development deal) with what we were hoping would be the final draft of the script I've been working on since January 2008. Of course, that 2008 date doesn't represent unbroken work. I worked on it on and off since then, with the real big push beginning again in June of 2009, when an independent producer and family friend optioned it. In October, we made the above deal with a production company in LA headed up by an incredibly well-respected, multi-time Oscar nominated producer-hyphenate. Since then, I've been doing pretty consistent and intense re-writes. 

After this last draft went to the prod co, two other people in the creative department there read the script to make sure it held together for first time readers. For the most part, it did. They just had a couple questions - independent of each other - that because we received from two readers, we wanted to address before going to anyone else (i.e. people who have the authority to greenlight a project). So, last week was my time to put the final fixes (hopefully) into the script - remember, micro-surgery? - before moving forward. And, true to the trend, I wound up going out of town the following day for the weekend, which helped to get the script off my mind. In fact, I think I would encourage writers to take a weekend trip after submitting a script for a producer or agent's weekend read pile. 

At this point, we're waiting to see what effect the revisions have had. Ideally, they'll seem to work as effectively as we think they do. In submitting, I've gotten to the point where it's best that I submit two drafts - one clean, and one with revision tracking so that the production exec can find them quickly and better track them. I know that a lot of screenwriting teachers also instruct writers to never put dates on their drafts (so that agents/producers don't suspect they're getting a draft their peers passed on). Again, my drafts are going out dated, so that the producer and production exec I'm working with know immediately which is the most recent draft. When we go out from here, though, we might remove the date. Maybe not. Who knows?

Either way, it's a good time to resume lining up my ducks for next projects, as well as getting more info on the mechanics of a sale. The more I can go into this stage knowing, the better off I think I'll be.