Rewriting a Script: Things to Keep in Mind
There is no better feeling than setting out to write a script and finishing your first draft. Months of preparation, an idea that blossomed into a full-blown story, and working tirelessly at your craft; characteristics of the challenge associated with writing a script. Still, when that first draft is over with, you have to understand there is plenty of work left to do.
Rewriting a script is arguably a more significant challenge than writing the first draft. After all, you have to make the onerous decision of figuring out what’s worth keeping and what needs to be trimmed. Nevertheless, if you’re about to re-write your script, down below will take an in-depth at things to keep in mind with the re-writing process. Let’s take a look!
Photo credit: No Film School
Have a Plan
Just like you had an outline for your script and for your process of writing, you should also have a plan for your re-writing method. There are a few main points to be mindful of while re-writing your draft. First, have a set schedule on when you’ll actually spend time re-writing it. Even if it’s thirty minutes a day, this will help you get into the editing mindset.
Lastly, have a plan of what needs to be trimmed and edited. For example, you may want to correct grammar mistakes before making any actual story adjustments. From there, you can take a more in-depth approach regarding your script’s story and what needs to be adjusted.
Know Where The Story is Going
Many great writers know how a story begins and ends, taking the time to figure out everything in-between after. Although your script’s first draft is done and has a beginning, middle, and end to it, while editing, make sure you’re aware of how each part flows into one another.
You don’t necessarily need to get ahead of yourself; you just need to be mindful of how each scene begins and ends. Take a breather, read it through, and see if the story’s overall flow is okay. Make sure you’re honest with yourself as well. More often than not, writers have a difficult time pinpointing how the story can be improved.
Take a Break After Your First Draft is Finished
Although it has nothing to do with writing and editing your script, taking a break is arguably the most crucial part of editing your script. More often than not, people finish their first draft and immediately get into editing. As great as it is to have a strong mentality, it can hinder your script if you go into editing too quickly.
Thus, a good rule of thumb is to take a few days off after your first draft is finished to let it breathe. Not being in a constant screenwriting mindset will allow you to fully concentrate on what needs to be done to fully improve your script. People vary with how long they need, so try to give yourself a reasonable amount of time to feel refreshed.
Be A Strong Critic
As challenging as it is to be your own critic, knowing what needs improvement is a fundamental part of developing a great script. No matter how confident a notable filmmaker or screenwriter is, they’ll tell you how important it is to be honest with yourself. No one can make a perfect screenplay on their first attempt.
Even screenwriters who have been in the business for a long time will tell you how challenging it is to finish a script. As we all know, the first draft is a monumental task, but the actual nitty-gritty comes with actually finishing it. That finish-line can’t be crossed until the first draft is fully edited and realized.
Add More Details
Although rewriting largely has to do with editing, many of it is about adding essential details to make the script even stronger. Now, many screenwriters may feel this is blasphemy. Still, it’s ubiquitous for writers to come up with their best stuff once the draft is fully realized.
This doesn’t mean you need to add a ton of paragraphs throughout the story. All it means is you should read the script and ask yourself if there’s anything you can add to make it better. Even if it’s an entirely new character for part of the script, if it adds to the story beneficially, you might as well try it out.
Trim the Fat
On the polar opposite end of the spectrum of adding more details is trimming the fat. This is especially worth mentioning if your script exceeds 120 pages. Most experts recommend having scripts somewhere between 90 to 120 pages, but trimming the fat can be applicable to any story. If a scene doesn’t add anything to the story or is too long, ask yourself if it’s worth keeping in.