GETTING OVER THE UNCERTAINTY
I wrote a script two years ago that was revived last week. To date, I had written 3 versions of the script and the Producer/Director team interested have been happy with all of them. It’s simply a matter of logistics, funding and scheduling that has delayed things.
A while back, the director posed a slight change to the structure of the story so I got to work on the 4th version of the screenplay. I also took the opportunity to change a few tiny details here and there. Mostly dealing with how certain scenes were staged.
As I wrote the 4th draft of the script, I found myself wondering why I hadn’t thought of certain things before. I started doubting myself. I was more than happy with the 3rd draft and even though a lot of time has passed, are my opinions really that different? Have I changed as a writer?
Of course, the answer is yes. I have changed and evolved as a writer. The whole point is to get better with every page. Every sentence even. I’m sure I’m not alone on this but I became anxious about it. Each new draft of this particular story I’ve written has been the best draft yet. This line of thought led me to a very real fear that screenwriters can experience.
WHAT IF THE NEXT DRAFT IS BETTER TOO?
Essentially, I printed out the 7 page script and wrote most of it from scratch. The story remained the same but I restructured a lot of material and eliminated a few moments that were no longer needed. I ended up trimming nearly 2 pages out of the screenplay and it definitely reads a lot faster.
The entire time I was asking myself if I was over thinking things. Was I over simplifying the story?
After a while, I decided to print out the new script as well. I read them both line by line picking out the best possible moments from each. This step paid off as I came to a realization.
DON’T FOCUS ON THE ‘NEXT’ DRAFT
Just write the best possible draft you can right now.
Once I combined the two drafts of the screenplay, a couple key moments returned and the story was even better. I was so focused on trimming that I hadn’t taken a step back to consider what I had lost. My self conscious fear actually led to improvements in my writing. Neat.
I’m pretty happy I made that decision because the new draft is 100% my favorite thus far. The Champion Draft as I call it.
BUT WHAT IF THEY WANT ANOTHER DRAFT?
The answer is simple. If another draft is required down the road, I’ll just work hard and create a new Champ. What I love about rewrites is the incredible amount of problem solving challenges you must face and eventually overcome.
There’s nothing more satisfying than coming up with a BETTER idea.