Ok, so I've got this completely unformatted unfinished rough draft going. Its a personal story, but I am of the mind that I am okay with some fairly significant changes to the script, if called for. My question is, when I have my real first draft completed, who are the people involved in the project that can read it and say, "Yeah, you need to re-write this part here"? Producer, Director, DP?
Do you get friends, family, and other non-technical people to read the presentation script for first revisions? I would think that you need to have the best script you can turn out before you shop for a producer, director, or DP??
I've been writing narratives for years, but not really for public consumption and I would like to have in my mind where my next stop is on this ride.
Thread: Who can mandate re-writes?
Results 1 to 10 of 14
07-10-2005 08:01 AM
07-10-2005 08:16 AM
If you're publishing a manuscript, it will be your publisher making changes through an editor assigned to the project. I'm close to two authors published through Random House and Dell who had their recent books in edit for over six months prior to release. They were both so sick of their book by the time they hit the shelves that they dreaded going on the requisite book tour.
On a screenplay, it is largely the producing team that would request or demand rewrites. The director, depending on her relationship with the producer, might play here, but it isn't a given.
I'm working to line up an independent feature for this fall in a DP capacity. The projects I'm looking at are low-budget affairs, so I'm requesting a copy of the shooting script to make a decision on throwing my hat into the ring. As a DP, I don't expect to have any input from a story standpoint once I'm asked to join a show.
07-10-2005 08:22 AM
Whoever buys it can say "rewrite".
And they can lock you in to doing, too. Have you browsed the WGA site(s). I just took a peek at one of the theatrical contracts they've got up there:
Here's what they'll pay for: "story and first draft, two rewrites and a polish"
Non-tech people reading...you'll not usually get anything more useful than a like/don't-like-it opin ion, which is only good for judging audience potential.
If you want pro/semi-pro opinions, maybe head to Zoetrope or Triggerstreet. You'll get a lot more useful insight.
07-10-2005 08:47 AM
As you stated, you ALWAYS want the best version of your script to go wide, before you hit up agents/ producers, etc, etc.
As I don't know how far down the road you are regarding your writing abilities, I can only guess that using words like 'unformatted' and 'presentation' that you may indeed, be just starting out. If you are serious about writing a professional screenplay, then you IMHO need to read some 'how to' books on the subject. If you'd like my personal opinion on this matter, feel free to IM me. But other than reading 'how to' books, nothing actually beats reading screenplays. Screenplays in their first or final draft. Many are free online now for downloading. Taking courses can help as well. Then finally, simply putting it, to actually write the damn story!
Often rookie writers knock-out a 'first draft', and think that their work is done. Truth is, and it's a horrible truth, most, if not all first drafts are way off target, and are not suitable for professional coverage/ eyes.
Writing is re-writing. Get your script into the best shape possible, then worry about the step process for re-writes from DoD's, Exec's, Producers, Directors, etc.
M. Night Shyamalan, if my memory serves me well, revised THE SIXTH SENSE screenplay nine times before he shot his film. There's something to think about...
Once, of course, you do get your script into a shape that you are happy with, then feedback is always helpful. Other fellow writers are a good source to plunder. People who you know will give you more feedback than "Yeah, it was cool..." are also helpful. Professional script doctors another. The list goes on and on. But remember this, you can give out one script to ten people and always get polar conclusions. The best method is to listen to everyone, and the things that repeatedly chine the same chord - hone in on and re-write.
If this sounds like a lot of work, that's because it is. lol
07-10-2005 09:59 AM
What I am wanting to do with this exercise is to experience the process of writing a screenplay from concept through to a point where it is actually an acceptable piece. I guess eventually, I would like to see it come full circle and get shot. I'm not very new to writing, but this would be the first trip into the screenplay arena, that's for sure. Right now, its basically a rough narrative, just getting the outline going. The broad story and main events. I dont have any useful books at the moment for the How-To instruction and the only scripts or screenplays I have on hand are shooting scripts that are commercially avail (likes from Barnes and Noble) for things like Shawshank Redemption, Clerks, The Matrix, and Traffic. I will need to check online for others. I'm sure I can find a class in my area for it, but whether I can find the time will be another thing. haha!!!
Isnt there a difference between a shooting script and the version that you shop around to folks to get people on board with your project?
I am going into this knowing that it will be a very long process, and painful as it will likely be, I look forward to it. But as EJ Pennypacker said, M. Night revised The Sixth Sense nine time before shooting...I was just wondering who those people were that could tell him to keep going back for re-writes.
I'm a newb all over again in this forum, so thanks to all who have the patience to offer direction and answers.
07-10-2005 10:56 AMOriginally Posted by thartley
But if you're trying to sell it to someone for *them* to make, and you're just the writer, they'll probably toss it if it's full of "directing from the page" whether you're trying to direct the actors or the camera.
07-11-2005 01:34 AMOriginally Posted by thartley
- Join Date
- Sep 2003
Once you take a check, the project is THEIRS, not yours. They can do whatever they want to it, and have whoever they want do it. They may ask you to make the changes, but they're certainly not obligated to use you. Or consult with you. Or notify you.
Ultimately whoever is producing the project has final say. The producer is the boss, the producer hires (and fires) everyone else on the project. Typically if a rewrite or change is mandated, it would come from the director -- the director's the one who has the responsibility of translating the written word into a fully-realized film. But if the director and the producer disagree, the producer wins.
(Technically, ultimate responsibility lies with the executive producer who bankrolls the picture (whether a studio, a private investor, or whatever) because they could always decide to pull the plug... "golden rule" and all, y'know...)
On a low-budget indie film, EVERY crew member will be making suggestions and trying to implement changes! Every crew member is an indie filmmaker, dontchaknow... but it's the director's responsibility to make sure the story works well and is cohesive and well-integrated. And those changes can come at any time, too (hence the wide variety of "deleted scenes" we see on DVDs nowadays... they went through the trouble of shooting the scenes, but decided in editing not to use 'em... would have been a lot cheaper/faster/more efficient to make those changes at the script stage, of course).
Do you get friends, family, and other non-technical people to read the presentation script for first revisions?
Finding a writer's group would probably be a better way to go, although they may be overly critical. A good, well-qualified screenplay consultant can be worth it (but for every good one, there's probably 999 'hacks' out there who can't write their way out of a paper bag, so they're trying to make a living charging $100 to read screenplays!) I recommend Craig Kellem of www.hollywoodscript.com.
If you want friends & family to read it, don't tell them it's yours. Tell 'em you're a filmmaker and you're thinking of buying this script and making it, and you want to get some opinions first. You'll be much more likely to get honest opinions if they think it's not yours -- i.e., they'll judge it more honestly because instead of protecting your feelings, they'll be protecting your wallet. But still, if they've never read a script before, their feedback will be of limited value.
I would think that you need to have the best script you can turn out before you shop for a producer, director, or DP??
07-14-2005 09:47 PM
Find a good script doctor if you can. A good script doctor will read your script, looking for plot holes, disconnects, spelling, grammer, and assundry other problems and make suggestions on how to make it better.Be nice to all the Underlings...Someday they may be In Charge!
07-14-2005 10:43 PM
Alright...I see the real writers coming out...You guys are great.
Should people be scared of getting their script ideas stolen from all these readers upon readers? If no...why not?
I might be a little paranoid but...
Paranoia is only paranoia until something happens. Then it's foresight...and hindsight.
(I'm such a thread jacker) I'm sorry Thartley. I just ask just in case anyone else out there wants to know, while we's got's these guys...
Thanks so much for the help....