Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Writing Week (Vol. 6) part 270 - Yellow Revisions

I've been away. Could you tell?

I busted my back to get the script revised and off to my collaborator, W.A., before heading on vacation on the 15th of this month. This latest draft became a patchwork quilt of colored revisions - blue, pink, and finally yellow - leading up to me submitting it to him again. While it might seem a bit unnecessary to keep adjusting the revision color, doing so made it extremely easy for W.A. and I both to track the most recent edits. 

(In case you have yet to use revision mode, scripts keep track of edits in chronological order by assigning a color to them. A page with "blue" edits, for example, is one that has only been revised once. "Pink" is second, "yellow" third, and so on. Ultimately, you get weird colors and double colors. Especially in the past, studios actually printed the various versions of the script on multi-colored paper to the degree that it wasn't uncommon for a script to come out looking like a rainbow by the time it was done. In Final Draft, you can alter the color of the text with each revision mode, which I recommend doing so that your producer/collaborator/manager/whoever can see where the edits are. However, the header of each page also gets labeled with the most recent color and applicable date. For example, if you finished the first draft on 4/1/13, then did a pass on 4/4/13, all pages you made edits on will have "Blue 4/4/13" for a header. If you do another revision a week later, pages that get revised again read "Pink 4/11/13" at the top. A final pass on April 14 will yield "Yellow 4/14/13" on edited pages. The draft I turned in to my writing partner had all of the above color pages. That way, he could see where something had been fixed on the first round of edits, what was address on the second, and what I had finally resolved on the most recent pass. I had set a different color text for each revision mode, so he could immediately call out the changes.)

As we discussed and re-revised, three or four scenes stuck out as being problematic, hence the numerous revision modes. Each subsequent edit was less involved than the one that had preceded it, but the dialogue still wasn't right. Or the scene wasn't working properly. Or something that happened first should have happened second. I kept whittling away at the script, dropping a cumulative 12 pages and chipping away at what wasn't working. Finally, on the night before I flew out, I wound up spending three near-uninterrupted hours at the computer, putting all the pieces into order, touching up the script with "yellow." I thought it was working, but I also felt like perhaps I was starting to lose the forest for the trees. 

Off the script went.

W.A. called me the next morning as I was finishing my packing. He liked the edits and, other than one line of dialogue I had meant to cut but forgotten about, had no notes that merited immediate attention. He sent to our producer, and I boarded a plan for Belgium.

We will get her notes this week. 

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