A Letter From Our CEO – Now, Community Matters More Than Ever (COVID – 19)

Read Here

Screenwriting : Finishing Touches by Dillon Horner

Dillon Horner

Finishing Touches

hey everyone...like so many others out there, I am in quarantine and working on projects. I have finally came to the ending stages on my 3 scripts and find myself going over them for little things like misspellings and such...

does anyone have some advice or share routine in how they approach finishing their writing?? obviously grammar checks and such but how about changing acts in the last minute?

just curious....thanks a bunch and happy writing and best wishes to everyone out there

WL Wright

Read it out loud to yourself or better if you can, someone else. That helps beat your brain from passing over misspellings etc, like our brains love to do.

Matt Taylor

If you can, print a hardcopy. For me, mistakes that hide onscreen are often much easier to see on paper.

Eoin O'Sullivan

Put them away for at least a week or two ideally. Then read the script. It's amazing what some distance from a script will do, when you come back and reread it.

Jim Boston

Dillon, I make a hard copy of my .FDR script.

Phil Clarke

There are various techniques. Some like to print a hard copy, others like to read the script backwards line by line. Others prefer to outsource their proofreading. The latter is the best option if your general spelling, grammar and syntax isn't at a high level.

Eric Christopherson

I'd recommend focusing on one script at a time rather than three. And if you're contemplating changing acts then it sounds as though you're at the end of the first draft on these. Maybe it's time to get your script to a. trusted reader (or paid reader) for feedback.

Holly Jurbergs

I finally purchased Grammarly to help with editing. You could paste your script into Google docs; it has Grammarly included for free. You will find a lot more spelling and word errors if you print the script.

Thom Reese

Aside from spell and grammar checking, I find it helpful to read the script aloud. This helps to eliminate any clunky phrasing that isn't obvious when reading it silently. I also like to set it aside for a couple of days and then come back to it with fresh eyes before calling in finished. I never consider something done until I've gone over it several times.

John Ellis

Print out a copy and have somebody else read it. Doesn't have to be someone who knows screenwriting - the fresh eyeballs will catch things you didn't.

Dillon Horner

thanks for all the comments and best of luck!

Peter Reese

Agree with Thom (a non-related Reese) and see value in doing a 'radio read' with stand-in talent to get a sense of the interaction and timing attached to the draft. Best to you --

Bill Costantini

Hi Dillon,

Yeah....don't skimp on this important step. It takes me three - five hours to proof-read a 100 page script just for the basics. I've found 80 - 130(!) mistakes in scripts that were proofed by professionals who charge $100 - $200 per script. So take your time, and maybe do it in five-page chunks. It will help keep you fresh and more successful in finding mistakes.

The first thing you should do is visually scan a page for any word with an apostrophe. You might be surprised at how many may be used incorrectly, and especially with the word "it's" (instead of "its"), and also with singular and plural possessive nouns.

The wrong homophone is another common miss - except/accept, there/their, higher/hire, dense/dents, council/counsel, to/too/two, beings/begins are some that I found in just one scene of someone's script the other day. So be careful with homophones.

That's just basic proofreading - wrong/misspelled words and punctuation. It's time consuming, so take your time. It really sucks, though, when I'm proofing someone's script who paid $200 to have it proofed, and I find over 100 mistakes like that. Some people shouldn't be allowed in the proofreading business! Heh-heh.

I won't even go into the "Present Tense, Active Voice/Present Tense, Passive Voice" matter, except to say this: try and keep all verbs in the present tense and active voice. It's not a rule, but it reads better. And I really won't mention the "Weak Verbs" issue, either, except to say that weak verbs are lazy writing. :(

Best fortunes in your creative endeavors, Dillon!

Nick Assunto - Stage32 Script Services

Whenever I get a chance I just take another pass on the script. Read it through and make little changes, edits, or fix mistakes. I do this enough and eventually there's still always somehow one typo somehow but I think I have a curse or something.

Johnny Zito

Congratulations! If you haven't already, read it out loud to yourself. If you are up to it., make a hard copy, if possible, of screenplay(s), open up a new document and write it out again. Literally, re-write it. I've been doing this with my latest and it has been surprising, the results I've been getting. It called my attention to things that needed fixing.

Jon Christopher

If you run into difficulty nearing the "Finish Line," I recommend Le Coq Noir, 151 Rum to spur you on.

Other topics in Screenwriting:

register for stage 32 Register / Log In