Focus Group Therapy

This time around writing my script took longer than usual.  Partly because I had less time dedicated to really sit down and write, but also, because I had to roll with some punches.  In the end, my script is better for it and I kept true to my initial vision for the arc of the story and how I thought it should end, but I did sacrifice some length, for the sake of what I felt was proper pacing.

Time and future reads will tell if more material is required to fill some gaps.  To tell the truth, My head has been wrapped up in this story so long, I’m not entirely sure what people will get or not get, based on the text, so a little breather and some outside feedback is in order, before I move on to revise.

I hadn’t even finished the first act when I ran into some problems with my planned outline and had to deviate from that for a more compelling scene, that touched on other scenes and pretty soon I had a sort of alternate reality outline that I felt was more efficient and dramatic, while maintaining the overall tone and structure I determined early on in the process.  Due to the complexity of the plot and my inherent distaste for repetition there may be some lack of clarity on aspects I’ve taken for granted that need to be reinforced.

This is the worst time for me, because there is this unsatisfactory, kind of fake sense of completion.  More needs to be done, but I can’t bear to look at the thing anymore.  The rush is gone and I’m crashing from the high.  Handing your work over to someone can be difficult.  You want them to read it.  You want validation.  You want criticism, but selective criticism.

Some people will read with note giving in mind.  They are determined to make it their story and they might have some valuable insights, but you will have to weed through the notes and know what advice to listen to and what to stick to your guns on.  Some people will read and just fluff your ego.  It’s nice to hear nice things but it isn’t very helpful if you really want to improve your script.  You want someone who can read a screenplay, not just understand it, but read it like they would read a book and get involved.  You want them to read for their entertainment, not for your edification.  After they’ve read it, you want their overall impressions and questions.  Those to things will let you know how close you are to doing what you’ve set out to do.  Not advice, or suggestions, unless you decide to ask for those things.

If you find someone who likes to read screenplays and will give you their impressions and ask the questions they have about the story.  They alone should be able to equip you for the next phase of revising your script.  The notegivers are fine, and the praise givers, too.  But there’s only one way to strengthen what you have, and it’s not by leaving it alone or changing it into something else.

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2 thoughts on “Focus Group Therapy

  1. Pingback: Marginal information | cinetactical

  2. Pingback: A Noteworthy Discussion | cinetactical

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