There may be instances when you want to throw away your script and never look back. For some reason, the story isn’t working, the characters don’t feel alive, dialogue does not seem natural, and you want to start from scratch. But what if you had the right tools to revise it and continue developing that idea? This week we share the insight from past AFF panelists on how they saved their script from the backburner.
“So if you’re flogging the script and it’s not going anywhere, it’s worthwhile to step back for a short period of time, for a long period of time, and go, “What? Is there something missing here?” And “Have I asked all the right questions?” So, when I’m plotting something now, I don’t decide anything until I go through every possible permutation of it. I never want somebody to come up and go, “Well, have you thought about something else?” You want to be able to think about everything and thinking about everything will lead you to maybe figure your way out of the problem sometimes.” – Dan Gilroy, 2017 Panelist (writer/director Nightcrawler)
“With the process that I- that I started developing about five or six years ago is, I do a little tiny book report just for me, and the first page is, ‘How does this make me feel?’ And I just describe whatever rainbow of feelings that I got from- from the experience of that, and the- the second page is, ‘What did it do to make me feel that way?’ And then the last, however many pages I devote to, ‘What is the most cinematic way to express those feelings?’” – Eric Heisserer, 2017 Panelist (writer/director Hours; writer Arrival, The Thing, Final Destination 5)
“I mean, there were- it was not like there were three drafts. There were many, many drafts. Like at first we’re like, ‘They’re sisters!’ ‘They’re not sisters.’ Like, it’s just- there were so many versions, but I do think, it’s funny, like I looked back recently, just sort of our initial conversations when we were writing the pilot. And we would do this thing that I think was unintentional, but just as we were trying to figure out how to work with each other where we would just email back and forth about sort of what we wanted the show to be, and it wasn’t to create a pitch document. It was just trying to like, get our hands around what we wanted to say and what we wanted to do, and a lot of the sort of foundational emails between us, you look back and you’re like, “Oh, yeah, like, we want it to be like ugly and desperate, but like, incredibly beautiful, and this has to be about, like, a team of women with a friendship at the core.’” – Liz Flahive, 2019 Panelist (co-creator GLOW)
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