Tuesday, March 05, 2013

The Writing Week (Vol. 6) part 261 - Prepping for the Page by Page

Almost one year ago to the day (give or take a week), I had my first meeting with my now writing partner, writer/director/actor, W.A. Since then, I've churned out eight versions of outlines, two major revisions of the script, and five smaller edited versions of the screenplay. Throughout it all, W.A. has been right there beside me - not literally, with the exception of a few times, but via email, phone, and text. It's been a pretty great process.

For nearly two months now, we've been really close with the script to where we think it needs to be. Before we send it to our producer for her review and notes, though, we want to make sure that every potential question or red flag has been addressed. W.A. has been really adamant that we not send it out until everything has been ironed out, and while part of me has gotten impatient at times, I can't deny that he's right in this inclination. Our protagonist's character was close, but not 100% clear or solid yet; W.A. knows that our producer - who has an eagle eye for structure and character - will immediately point out those shortcomings. Why waste her time, or ours, by giving her something that still has a few wrinkles in it?

Two more weeks, then, spent on addressing our protagonist and his desires, fears, and motivations. When I went into that round of revisions, I thought the chore ahead of me was a relatively minor one, due to how solid the structure of the script it. And I was right - to a degree. The structure didn't change, but almost every single subsequent scene (I was addressing something in early act one) did. Dialogue changed. Actions changed. Expressions and desires changed. Oddly, those adjustments imbued the script with a lot of organic foreshadowing, which I personally believe to be a good thing. His actions began to carry more and more weight, certain lines naturally developed subtext, and the unspoken lines became that much more weighted. 

Whether or not W.A. agrees (or if it tracks as well as I thought it did when I read and sent it to him on Sunday), we'll see on Thursday. He and I have blocked out a four hour chunk of time in the middle of the day to sit down and go through the script page by page, making sure everything reads as it should, makes sense, and carries from page one through 110. It should be yet another step in what has thus far been a very informative and engaging collaborative process.