Thursday, January 17, 2013

Scripts are never written. They're Re-written.

"Mostly when I think of pacing, I go back to Elmore Leonard, who explained it so perfectly by saying he just left out the boring parts. This suggests cutting to speed the pace, and that's what most of us end up having to do (kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler's heart, kill your darlings) ... I got a scribbled comment that changed the way I rewrote my fiction once and forever. Jotted below the machine-generated signature of the editor was this mot: 'Not bad, but PUFFY. You need to revise for length. Formula: 2nd Draft = 1st Draft - 10%. Good luck.' Stephen KingOn Writing, 2000

That's from this really great article from The Atlantic. Read it here:

I'm glad I came across this article as I'm currently working on this script for an Ad I need to shoot this weekend. Trying to sum up a plot with a beginning, middle, and end inside of 90 seconds is always a challenge. The rule of "leaving out all the boring parts" is liberally applied when working on short Ads. And I've gotten use to it having made so many, but the frustration and creative challenge never lessens each time.

I made a blog post a while back on my other blog titled "Learn To Kill Your Baby." In that post I talk about how many first time filmmakers are afraid to kill their "babies". They birth this story and are afraid to touch one thing about to change it for fear that it will kill it. But the truth is that your story needs to grow up, evolve, and become a fully formed movie. You're new born story needs to grow up. So don't be afraid to kill off those things that keep your story from evolving.

If it doesn't serve the interest of moving the story forward, then you don't need it. Kill it off.

"Leave out all the boring parts".

One example I LOVE to bring up is TITANIC. Say what you want about the movie, but I think the story itself is a pretty great one. Although I do love to watch the some of the awful and rushed FX work. The ship sinking and all the big FX shots are great, but the smaller scenes where we see the wide shot of the ship and all the obvious computer generated people are robot walking along the deck crack me up every time.

But I do love the movie itself. I'll forgive all the rushed parts because I like the plot and love the end. Especially that perfect ending.  I think,"Wow, Cameron really got that right." But then I saw the original ending.


This was the ending Cameron originally wrote and shot and almost got out in theaters. THANK GOD they Joey Gladstoned this piece of crap. (Cut-It-Out. Joey Gladstone? Get it?)

The entire movie was epic and beautiful and adventurous and then all of a sudden it ends like a Scooby-Doo episode. I'm fairly certain had they left this ending in, Titanic would have been deemed one of the worst movies of the year or certainly not as great as most perceive it to be now.

Thank God for revisions.

So writers, filmmakers, please be honest. Go over your movie, story. Is every scene serving the movie as a whole? Is every scene functioning to it's fullest to not only move your story forward but to plus it?

If not kill it.

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