Screenwriting : After you finish your first draft, what’s your rewriting process include? by Phillip "The Genuine Article" Hardy

Phillip "The Genuine Article" Hardy

After you finish your first draft, what’s your rewriting process include?

“Usually, we'd get about three pages done each day, and those pages are finished pages. We'd polish them as we go, over and over again, doing our revising as we proceed. So when we're finished, we're really finished. We very seldom do any revising.” ~Irving Ravetch You’ve typed the words “FADE TO BLACK” and hopefully, you put your work aside for at least a few days or a week. Then what do you do? What’s your process after that? Do you rewrite multiple drafts?

Phillip "The Genuine Article" Hardy

@Sylvester: Very concise. I like it.

Joleene Moody

I go back to the top. I rewrite. I go back to the top again. I rewrite. I got back to the top again. I rewrite. I do this until I feel like it purrs like a kitten.

Zlatan Mustafica

I am actually rewriting as I am writing, most of the time. Say I wrote 15 pages yesterday, today I go through those 15 pages, rewrite, change, delete, add and so on and move on with the story. Then I repeat that process throughout all the way to the final scene. And then I go through it as a whole and rewrite again until I am happy.

Cherie Grant

I go over it the full length first dealing with the story. Then i deal with action and then dialogue is usually the last thing i polish and then I just go over picking up little bits and typos and polishing dialogue and action more. I don't do it page by page with a complete polish. I prefer to see the picture as a whole and how it all blends and relates.

Jody Ellis

Usually I go through one quick revision and then let my trusted readers review and advise me on more serious revisions/changes. I think my average is 5 revisions before I start submitting it anywhere. Sometimes 10.

Izzibella Beau

Write, re-write, re-write again. It's a never ending process of going over the material. I usually write out the complete story, then go back to page one and edit or erase.Lately, it's been a lot of erasing. How to get a 200-page story down to no more than 110 pages...UGH!

Steven Michael

I do my best "creating" when I'm away from the keyboard. This is where I edit. The rest is just executing the creative edits. However, keeping with the context of the question, I sometimes edit while writing, sometimes just slog through and worry about editing later. No recurring method, just create, edit, polish in no particular order.

Guillermo Ramon

Different writings have different processes. When I write a feature film, I write about three drafts before I send it for coverage. Most often, I agree with some of the coverage feedback and disagree with other. I rewrite and send it to a different script consultant. I do this until I send it to a more expensive consultant. I have already a small circle of consultants that I have used several times. When I write shorts, I always write a film and a play version. I have the play version read by actors and correct both versions (film and play accordingly). Short works and one acts do not meet the stringent structure of three acts. Sending those for coverage is useless because most consultants use the same criteria for three acts and one acts. The plot structure, character development, number of settings, etc. depend on the length of the work. These are more difficult when self evaluating.

Patrick M McCormick

I hate to polish my early drafts, so many things can change with the imagery and dialog. The needs of character and story development can often force changes all over the work. I give it time. I go over the screenplay frequently, making little changes. Doing so enables my subconscious to generate those special 'Ah ha" moments that I love. When I can read through the beast and not make any changes, it's finished.

Debbie Croysdale

I try to put finished work out of my mind for a while, and then pick it up on the spur of the moment, when my mind has most drifted away from it. A kind of fresh eyes perspective, as though I'd just picked it up off the library shelf. I try to put my mind in the perspective of "Would I be interested in this if I'd only just seen it?" I may have been absorbed/engrossed/even obsessed dogmatically working away for the last months.....but the question I ask, is would someone else be hooked in the moment? after just picking it up.? Anything in my re read that doesn't immediately draw me in, overwhelming me with a gut desire/curiosity, I re work on. In other words I distance myself, then go back for the kill.

Phillip "The Genuine Article" Hardy

@Guillermo: Your method sounds like a very thorough one. Much like Harriet Frank Jr. and Irving Ravetch, I write and rewrite pages along the way. Then I use the final draft read through and correct typos and omitted words. Finally, I begin removing any narrative or dialogue that doesn't add value and if I find any plot holes, I endeavor to correct them. Beyond that, I don't do any rewriting that is not at the behest of a producer or director that I form a relationship with. Currently, I'm working on a treatment with a director, who suggested we really dial it in before writing the script. He's doing this to avoid too much rewriting. He's made more than a half dozen films including one starring Christopher Plummer. In the final analysis, the writer needs to feel confident in material they're putting out in the ether.

Guillermo Ramon

@Phillip, I may overdo it. However, since I write for the theater and I act too, I worry to death about having a work that the people in it will enjoy too. I even pace my works to have some things happening at 5 minutes, some at 10, some at 40, and have the exact length that is appropriate for the play. I know how much effort the actors and the director put into it. I really want to give them my absolute best. So far, my attempts at writing movies have not met with any producers. All I have to show for now is being 3 times a finalist in festivals. Yet, I treat my screenplays as I do my stage plays. I imagine the cast working on making my characters come alive and I feel I must polish the script as much as I do.

Zlatan Mustafica

I don´t know if any of you do this but I also work on more than one script at the time. Usually, I work on three. It sure helps when that one script is giving me a hard time. I leave it for a couple of days or a week and work on other stories. Helps me stay creative and productive at the same time.

Jorge J Prieto

I, put it away for at least six weeks, more if I need to start a new screenplay. With fresh eyes, hopefully, I proofread, I tend to omit or misspell words. I don't review as I write first draft, my adrenaline keeps me going, 3 min scenes at a time. I definitely go from Magic Screenwriter to Pdf so my eyes are not tricked from expending so much time in Magic. To be honest, I need to hire a proofreader, for every script. I just completed my seventh. Great questions, my friend, Philip E.

Aray Brown

I print it out, put it away for a few days (I think six weeks is to long but to each it's own), come back and read it out loud to get a feel for it, make notes (things that don't work/ have no purpose/ new additions), go back to the drawing board and rewrite, keep plugging away until I'm satisfied with it. Then that's when fellow creatives come in.

Richard "RB" Botto

I have a very similar process, Aray.

Aray Brown

Good to know, RB! if it ain't broke don't fix it

Beth Fox Heisinger

Me too, Aray! :)

Jody Ellis

I can't remember the last time I printed out a screenplay, lol

Tim Johnson

There's a great book called "Rewrite" by Paul Chitlik over at Michael Weise books - http://shop.mwp.com/products/rewrite-2nd-edition-a-step-by-step-guide-to.... He covers a very systematic way of approaching your rewrites in multiple passes with different goals for each pass (scenes, voice, dialogue, action, B-story, etc). I see there's now a 2nd Edition so he's keeping it fresh! One point he made is "rewriting is not editing", so don't fool yourself into thinking polishing up some words and dialogue is the same as removing entire scenes or merging two characters into one.

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