Almost 4 years ago, Eric and I sat down to talk about 17 West and the movies we wanted to make. At that meeting, we talked about several films that are now released. One of the stories I talked about was The Climb. It was a simple story about 2 homeless people who have lost hope and what it would take to change their situations.
That summer, I spent a lot of time at the Reference Library in Toronto. Whenever I begin a new script, I usually map out the story in the library away from computers and distractions. Just me and my notes. It’s an amazing place to work and it was there that I worked out the story of Cameron and Destiny.
I finished the first draft quickly but we decided to wait a while before making it. It eventually became the movie we would definitely make… Someday. Finally, I decided to test out the screenplay in a competition. The script ended up placing 4th out of over 1200 entries. While I was extremely proud, it occured to me that had the script won, we wouldn’t have been able to make it ourselves.
So The Climb was put on hold again…
We were once again discussing what films we should make and ultimately decided that Playing Through would be next. Regardless, I felt the need to update The Climb and engaged in a series of rewrites. One of the reasons we struggled to pull the trigger was because I had always threatened to expand it into a feature script someday. Why not wait and see what turns out?
Last summer, after Playing Through finally wrapped, I decided The Climb (the short film) would be my next directorial effort. It was time to revisit the script again. I went with a simpler approach and eliminated several sequences entirely. The result was a shorter and tighter version of the original story. The idea was to make the film on a minimal budget with a skeleton crew. However, after a year of balancing 17 West with my career in television, I decided it was best to take a break and recharge.
Note: Easily the best decision I’ve made in a while. The break gave me time to finish all the web design work I had to complete. It also meant time to write. I love screenwriting. I hadn’t really written anything in nearly a year. That will never happen again.
It’s happening! With our first official meeting in the books, I pulled out the script and began version 4.0… The Shooting Draft.
There were certain changes I wanted to implement but it eventually led to a screenplay I’m extremely proud of. Multiple scenes were merged together, dialogue was rewritten and strengthened and as a whole, the story is a lot tighter and more interesting.
I looked back at the original competition draft and compared it to the draft I finished this week. It’s always nice to see a progression in my writing style. While, I’m much happier with the writing today, I’m even happier knowing the story has remained untouched. You would think with so many rewrites, there would be major differences in the plot. It’s encouraging to think that the original structure has survived through 4 years of rewrites. I hope it results in an entertaining movie.
I’m a massive fan of rewrites because it forces you to question and scrutinize every word and it’s place in the story. Reading a scene you love and then asking yourself if it can be better is a challenge I welcome. Rewriting a script can be a long process but it’s worth it.