Screenwriting : Polishing by Andrew Gardner

Andrew Gardner


As a new screenwriter, I am still getting used to all of the terminology. I recently read online that when you are being asked to "polish" a script, you are in essence being asked to rewrite the whole thing. How accurate is this? Do producers/studios really expect you to rewrite the entire script, or do they usually tell you exactly what they would like to see done to it to meet their standards?

Liz Warner

Polishing means putting the finishing touches on it.

Shawn Speake

My opinion of polishing is: the story is basically there. You might have notes to address, make this beat louder, or tone this down, fix some dialogue, but no major components need a rewrite… If a major component of the story needs to be rewritten, that's a rewrite.

CJ Walley

There's no agreed definition of polishing. Don't get caught up in the terminology.

Shawn Speake

Hey, CJ! What is your experience on this subject? … I'm big on terminology - it's the Scientologist in me! … When a producer tells you to polish a script, what are thinking his thoughts are? … Is the next 'rewrite or polish pass' dependent on notes? Thanks for you help.

CJ Walley

It's just an ambiguous term, the definition or which will be subject to the producer in question. They might see a polish as having someone blast through the script and give the dialogue an edge, or they might know exactly what they need and require someone to make extensive changes. There could be notes, there could be nothing more than a Skype chat.

Shawn Speake

That's what's up, brother! Happy Friday!

Shawn Speake

Let's Skype, CJ! What's your id?

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