Friday, April 03, 2015

The Limit: What collaborating with myself on a script polish felt like

I've had the oddest script-writing experience over the last week: I've co-edited a script with my past self.

Some background:

  • I finished my thriller, 'The Limit', back in 2011
  • I sent it off to about seven producers, none of whom were interested
  • Last week, a producer asked for a writing sample so I decided to polish The Limit
  • Re-reading it, I discovered I'd been sending out the wrong copy, a previous draft, to producers.
The draft I should have been sending out was filled with amazing writing choices and punchier scenes. It had reduced the page count from 106 to 100 pages. It felt leaner, more intense. And it gut-punches you right in the feels exactly when it should.

But there were still sequences that felt clunky.

And so 2015 Steve decided to collaborate with 2011 Steve. We used pretty much every rewritten scene from the 2011 draft. With another four years of experience and distance, I was able to look at the scenes that didn't work and say:

  • This is too verbal; we're writing a movie
  • This is too complicated; this movie needs to be simple
  • This is too overwrought; let's make our point and move on
In most instances, all three of those things were true.

I was a compassionate but brutal editor of my own work. I loved and respected what 2011 Steve had done, while feeling authoritative about saying that the script now needed to work 'this' way in order to achieve its potential.

The script is now down to 93 pages. It'll probably lose another couple after this next editing pass.

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