The next draft of my script for METLAB isn’t really a new draft at all – what it is is an iteration.
I tried to follow some initial advice from John Sweeney about the opening scene, but couldn’t make the logistics of it work (you know, who stands where, who’s watching who, who’s looking after the bazooka) – so I’ve spent a lot of time tarting about with a more coherent back story. The general pain in the arse with back story as far as I’m concerned is that very often you don’t get to see it in its entirety on the page – as long as it contributes to the internal logic of the script then I’m happy, but it’s a lot of work for something that essentially remains unseen.
I’ve also had to do some additional research into leylines and standing stones (stop chortling at the back! The appearance of Stonehenge never did Halloween III any harm). And whilst I’m on the subject, here’s Chip’s Top Screenwriting Tip of the Week: DO NOT attempt to do your research as you write (I’m very often flipping between my script and several whacked out sites on leylines). As I gathered a little while back, I have the crappiest working method ever – but at least I’m in good company. No doubt if I relied on an outline a little more, my mental state would be that much calmer, but things would certainly be a lot less entertaining.
I’ve also started to be a little more brutal with some much loved scenes – unless it’s in there for a reason (i.e., to move the story forward), it’s out. Reading through a previous draft, it was quite alarming to see how much exposition I’d somehow managed to shoehorn in, so there’s a job of work there to make this less clunky and/or obvious. And bearing in mind METLAB’s budgetary guidelines, I’m already thinking about how to shave a few quid off here and there – for instance, the Godzilla-esque dinosaur fight scenes have already been dumped (just kidding). I’ve also taken on board some more decent advice from John Sweeney to make two of my central characters a little more larger than life – i.e., a touch more obsessed, mental and vain.
Like I said, it’s an iteration – I dread to think how much more I’d have to do to call it a proper re-draft.
And with that in mind, here’s a Jane Espenson moment: breakfast this morning? Espresso and two Anadin Extra – the only way to start the day!