Saturday, April 17, 2010


Second session of the rewrite course and it is proving to be a revelation. We agreed at the first session not to discuss each other's projects outside of the course so all I'll say is it's a good group and a diverse set of stories. The instructor, Paul Chitlik, is excellent and there is a clarity that, from my experience, is rare and much appreciated.

He's right - there are lots of books, gurus, theories, 'rules' and other paraphernalia about screenwriting, yet the old adage is, writing is all about rewriting. So what do you do when you've finished that first draft? Well, you read Paul's book!

Now, I normally have an aversion to screenwriting "manuals", preferring hands on workshops and courses. But Rewrite is so clearly set out with plenty of examples and exercises that I found it easy to read and, more importantly, understand from a practical perspective.

The course follows the guidelines in the book - Paul doesn't claim to espouse rules and laws - with the opportunity for almost forensic examination of each week's "homework". It's this attention to detail by breaking the script up into its component parts and analysing what's working or not that is absolutely invaluable. For example, from me doing a new beat sheet of the existing draft, Paul was able to pinpoint that the First Act is a little out of balance. Next lot of homework is to rewrite the first 15-25 pages based on today's notes.

I suspect we will be rewriting our entire scripts over the remaining 6 weeks paying attention to Paul's 7 story points and guidelines. What a great way to do a rewrite - clear, concise & supportive feedback. That's not to say there isn't a lot of heavy lifting to be done - I need to think about how to rectify the imbalance and rewrite the opening sequence. But that's the joy of doing a course like this - being challenged to make the script better by utilising such expertise.

What it makes me wonder though is this ... I know Perth may be but a small village in the global film-making community but why has it taken so long to find such shining nuggets of wisdom? I feel like I have been wandering through the wilderness all this time ... thankfully no more!

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