Screenwriting : What is your process for reviewing your script? by Phillip "The Genuine Article" Hardy

Phillip "The Genuine Article" Hardy

What is your process for reviewing your script?

After you finish your first draft and your rewrite, what does your final review process include? Do you read it aloud? Do you let your cousin Leon proofread it? I find that using the “Assign Voices” tool on Final Draft has really helped me catch omitted words and awkward dialogue. Consequently, my typos have gone way down. After I’ve done that, I have a trusted colleague and former writing teacher read my work. What do you do?

Dan MaxXx

I let my mom read. If she doesn't physically react at all, without facial ticks or "WTF" frowns, my story sucks. If she makes faces, shakes her head in degust, starts talking about Dental School, then my story is good

Dan Guardino

After I finish a First Draft I do what Phillip does and assign voices and listen to the screen play on Final Draft. When I am satisfied I send it to my editor and when I get it back I make changes if I agree with her then send it to my agent or throw it in a drawer and forget about it. The drawer is getting pretty full. lol

Aray Brown

I read it aloud or have FD speak it to me, the robotic voice doesn't make it sing though. Also send it to a director friend of mine

Christopher Hallenbeck

I stage a table read with friends if they're available. Hand over a copy of the script to each person for a few weeks, assigning them parts. Get together, hang out, and laugh over inadvertent mistakes or awkward dialogue. I find listening to others read my words (and believe me, none of my friends are actors) really helps with the musicality of my dialogue. Everyone who's attended one has a great time too. Make an evening of it!

Mark Mccoy

Once I'm done. I break it down like this Young Old and Middle age. For feedback

Wesley S. Miles

After finishing a rewrite of my pilot I had a friend (non industry) read it and asked if there were any questions, they gave one piece of feedback that my action / description was lacking my unique voice. From there I did a pass for only action ,then worked on bible material (character breakdown, setting, synopsis, etc.), I finished with a pass for dialogue. Now I've asked a great Director / friend if they would look it over, just like Aray, as I truly respect their opinion whether positive or negative and will use their feedback in a final polish. Finally I signed up for a Happy Writers pitch session which took place earlier today. Awesome posts with beneficial advice from Stage 32 has definitely provided a basis toward my approach along with other blogs and even youtube content including RB's Film Courage interview:

Jody Ellis

Never tried Assign Voices, I'll have to check that out. My boyfriend is my reader. He usually reads multiple drafts and helps me a lot. He's the one I trust the most. I don't have time or inclination for table reads or multiple readers. So usually it's him, then it goes on to either a contest or whomever is requesting it.

Craig D Griffiths

I write... Get my Mac to read it out, mostly for misused words or typos. Then I leave it for a while. I then go back through it and make sure that every scene has a job and that it does its job. I try to avoid falling in love with the words that I have written and look at the scene as a function of the story. After I have made sure there is no wasted scenes or scenes that are functionally duplicates of other scenes. I go look at transitions. I then do a dialogue pass and see if I can collapse some dialogue. After doing this a few times I stop and say it is done. I then move onto the next story. I may come back to it again. But only if I think of something great.

Mark Vincent Kelly

Can't agree more about Assigned Voices! A real find for me that I'd never heard mention of before.

Boomer Murrhee

I just began playing with Assigned Voices. It's going to take awhile to program each character, but I can see this can be a useful tool. Thanks, Phillip.

Aray Brown

Haven't used Assign Voices yet

Brian Walsh

I've never used it either, but I will definitely give it a look. What exactly does it do?

David Taylor

Use it when you are chopping veg, or doing something else. That way you can play it over and over. You will still hear what needs fixed. It somehow works because the voices are false.

Arran McDermott

Assigned voices in FD is great. Unfortunately Microsoft 7 only has the one voice you can use so everyone sounds like Anna. Wish there was a good free alternative that let you "act out" your screenplay with different computer voices.

Mark Vincent Kelly

I'm working on a solution for that myself.

Jorge J Prieto

I, proofread and proofread and I still miss a word here and there. It's frustrating. I been lucky and have found two S32 members who have read and even highlighted my mistakes. But, I really wish there was an easier way, that one self can use. Philip E, as always you post the best lounge topics, my friend.

David E. Gates

It is near-impossible to proof-read your own work. I've written and published three books and a short-story and I had to get someone else to proof-read all of them. Some of the mistakes I had made were so obvious, words spelt completely wrong for example, yet reading after reading I missed them. Get a friend to do it. Find one that can highlight spelling/grammar and one that will give constructive criticism as opposed to "I don't like that" which isn't a valuable comment on your work.

Jorge J Prieto

David: Thanks. So relieved to hear that I'm not alone on this. Like I said before, a professional screenwriter here on S32, was gracious enough to read, highlight and even give suggestions on how to improve story, all for nada. But, I think I invest $$ when I can on a professional proofreader.

David E. Gates

Good luck Jorge... paying someone is expensive. Maybe offer someone a credit if the movie gets made. :-)

Elisabeth Meier

Well, I put it aside for a while. Not too long, but long enough that I forgot the details that made me nervous. If I read it again later the whole thing mostly sounds better than I thought. The spellchecker actually is very helpful. Should there still be any typos you will discover them with a little time distance. Then, I make notes and rewrite it again - if I think it's necessary. If not I try to get a coverage like here on stage32 to get a professional feedback for the whole thing or I let fellow screenwriters first read my script (and of course do the same favor for them) to get a first feedback for the story itself.

Stephen Barber

@Phil, great topic. I'm in the middle of this, NOW. I find that if I can get in my car and blare some Nine Inch Nails... My mind is not only going a thousand miles an hour but, I'm energized at an elevated tempo -- If I read my dialogue in this state, the cheese stands out and it's easier to cut sluggish tempo from my story. Jus' sayin'.

Michael Eddy

Finish draft. Set it aside. Minimum of 3-4 weeks. Decompress. Then go back and read it with "fresh" eyes. You'll be amazed at things you find. Things you missed. Things that need to be changed. I get very focused when writing and have actually made a mental note while reading a draft to pay off some bit later - only to find that I did. As close as you get while writing, you need some distance for rewriting.

Michael Eddy

Finish a first draft - and put it away. Out of sight. For a minimum of 3-4 weeks. To get some distance. If I have my next idea - might even start outlining that or even writing it. But probably not to the latter because I need to decompress from finishing one screenplay. Then go back - and read it again. With fresher eyes. I see things I didn't see before or notice things that might be missing (to fix for the rewrite). I tend to get so focused when writing - that I have actually followed this

Brian Nelson

I do a couple read throughs to catch typos, misspelling, etc. Then I get a group of friends together, assign a character, and supporting characters to a given person, to read, and act out the dialogue. If anything comes off awkward, I take notes, and suggestions on making the dialogue flow more easier. This isn't just effective, but it's also a fun time for all.

Other topics in Screenwriting:

register for stage 32 Register / Log In