The Dreaded Rewrite


If you’re anything like me, you never nail that perfect script in a the first pass. A script consultant in LA who goes by the name of Pilar Alessandra (although her real name is Mary Watkins or Sally Crawford, depending on which state she’s wanted in) has suggested that a thorough rewrite takes seven passes. Here we go:

REWRITE 1: The Story and Structure Pass

Rethink premise, retell story, reorganize structure. Is there a central premise? How are the events executed? Linear or non linear? Are you doing the director’s job? Trim excessive descriptive fat.

REWRITE 2: The Activity Pass

Challenge your script to stop telling and start showing. Exterminate overly long expositional scenes.

REWRITE 3: The Character Pass

A different way to think about and add depth to your characters. Give them a quirk or other unique feature. Are all the characters necessary? If not collapse them into a single character. Each character must serve a dramatic function.

REWRITE 4: The Dialogue Pass

No more talky pages. Bring a new dynamic to dialogue-driven scenes. You can try an old trick and see if the character resonates after you cover up their name on a script.

REWRITE 5: The Tone Pass

Define mood and message with better sentence placement and word choice. Also look at pacing. Are you snappy or broody? Think about how and what you want the reader to feel.

REWRITE 6: The Polish

This is it before your script goes out. Make sure it looks it’s best. This isn’t the rewrite per se. It’s dotting the “i”s and crossing the “t”s.

REWRITE 7: Format

Are you using industry standard formatting? Does your script look a professional script? Is it consistent. Keep white space abundant. Write to speed up a read rather than assaulting a reader with a wall of text.

Write from your heart. Rewrite from your mind.

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