Screenwriting : "Deleted" scenes by Richard Banton

Richard Banton

"Deleted" scenes

I'm currently in the middle of a second/third draft of a feature and I've found that I'll settle on an idea for a new scene, write it down and then cut it a week later because it doesn't work. So, I'm curious. How many "deleted" scenes of yours don't make the final draft?

Christopher Phillips

All of them... scenes are made to be deleted. If you keep that in mind while writing, you’ll get your work done faster. The sooner you delete something that doesn’t work, the sooner you can get to something that fits better.

Craig D Griffiths

Heaps. I cut 11 pages off the start of the first screenplay I wrote. I used to drop scene more in early scripts. When I first started writing I thought every idea I had was gold. Now they go through a triage in my brain.

Maurice Vaughan

A lot of deleted scenes don't make it into my final drafts. If scenes don't work in the script, I delete them from the script.

Erik A. Jacobson

I would recommend writing an outline before you begin a script. That will help keep you focused and on track so there'll be less deleting. You'll know, for example, that by pages 12-15 you'll need to have completed the set-up (what the story's about), and by pages 25-30, Act 1 will begin, throwing the story in a whole new direction. Don't even start scenes which don't contribute to these important story points. They're a total waste of time.

Rosalind Winton

I deleted two pages at the beginning and a page and a half at the end of my feature, because I was trying to jump between 1912 and present day as bookends to the script, but it just didn't work and notes I received from industry readers confirmed what I had been thinking. These scenes will never make it back in. There are also some scenes I've deleted throughout the story, when I have felt something just doesn't work, or move the story on.

Phil Parker

I do outlines and treatments for all of my scripts, but that doesn't mean scenes won't get cut, put in a different order, or re-written. That's all part of the discovery process. I laugh because sometimes the scenes I end up deleting are scenes I thought were awesome when I dreamed them up!

Brett Hoover

I write out each scene in a brief outline. Before I start writing, I go over the outline to make sure that it is pushing the story forward or giving some piece of information that is important in another part of the story or to a main character. So, I usually cut the scenes in my outlines before I write them in my screenplay. That said, I do move material from one scene to another at times.

HB Duran

I've cut a lot of stuff out of screenplays before. In one, I actually just started over from a different perspective and moment in the story and it worked so much better. I use "'Save As" a lot and mark the versions in case I change my mind or want to recall a specific thing I wrote. Outlining helps to keep things in check upfront, but sometimes I'll cut a scene and move or cut and paste it into a separate document for future reference.

Richard Banton

Phil, this is literally me. I think up scenes, fix my outline, then write them and cringe. In most cases, the scenes do push the story forward, but they are obvious and cheesy. Rewriting is hard.

Erick Freitas

I just deleted 4 scenes this morning, but it changes for every script.

Nick Assunto - Stage32 Script Services

I honestly have no idea. A lot. A lot of deleted scenes.

Päivi Holländer

A lot I suspect, I delete them and never look back. I ask with every scene what it its purpose, can I go without. Every scene should have a purpose. I think.

Duncan Star-boszko

When I'm writing a first draft, I'll often write scenes that I know I'll delete, maybe from the perspective of a different character, just to give me some more info about a connected scene that I may later want to be a bit more mysterious. I figure it's time better spent typing and practicing writing, even if it's going to be deleted, than it is staring at a blank page.

Dan Guardino

I deleted quite a few and sometimes I combine them to save cost.

Michael Hultquist

Sounds pretty normal to me. I cut a lot of material or completely change it based on how I feel it is working in the overall story. Writing is rewriting. =)

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