Saturday, 14 March 2009

Editing a script

Taking a leaf out of Michelle's post about starting a script, I've decided to talk about the process of editing a script. It's not something I've ever done before. I've read plenty of scripts but never have I felt in a position to edit them; how could I ever make them better? The people writing these scripts know a hell of a lot more about writing than I do. I've also read some friends' scripts and given feedback on them. But I've never had any investment in the project, so it's not something I've attempted.

This week, Michelle wrote and sent me the first webisode of our drama. It's the first draft, it's not amazing. But it is bloody good. It is what I thought it would be; it's exactly what we conceived, so that's all good. But alas it's not perfect - nothing ever is.

I sat down for 2 hours to read and edit Michelle's 13 page script this afternoon. That's right - 2 hours!!! A lot of that is because we have this very complicated formatting system. We have to know what the cameras are doing and it has to be clear to the actors how we want it edited (because that is something they would be doing - assuming everything goes to plan).

Aside from formatting, there are a few story points I'd looked at (mostly to do with the shift in transitions etc). But the biggest edit - as with any script - is the excess. When you write a script and read it back (entering that second draft stage), it's practically impossible to cut things. But when you have something that you haven't written, you're coming to it with a fresh set of eyes - and a special pen with four different colours!

I've scribbled all over the print-out - it looks like a complete mess to everyone but me. But once I stick that in the script, it should all become clear. Hopefully Michelle will agree with most of the edits, but we shall see. It's a collaborative project and not an easy one at all.

Fingers crossed to this shiny web show, people!

1 comment:

Michelle Goode said...

I want one of those pens!

I'm very much looking forward to seeing what you've done with it :)

As I said over in my blog, starting off a script can be tricky - I had the idea of how it would all begin, but struggled to get it going and move it on in an interesting and entertaining way.

In the end, it wasn't the starting that was the problem, but winding down to an end... So I'm really grateful that I have a writing partner to take it on with fresh eyes and funky coloured pens!

The whole process was really interesting (given the difficulty of the format) and I'm eager to improve on my own writing and style as well as improving on the web-series as a whole (well, the first wep initially!)

So, go for it Neil and edit away to your heart's content! :)