Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Development aka The Long Hard Slog

Tomorrow morning I am scheduled to have the first Skype session with Michael Hauge on my script The Red Bride. I am excited and, I confess, a little nervous. It will be interesting to get his thoughts on the latest draft and a sense of how we will proceed. I was down on the South Perth foreshore today listening to his audiobook “Screenwriting for Hollywood”. Six pages of notes later, I have a rough idea of what I may need to focus on using Michael’s key principles.

Then it was off to a meeting at ScreenWest to discuss an upcoming development round for another project. Before that, feedback from the director on the treatment and submission material. More feedback from the SW Development Manager. New things to consider, more changes to be made, questions to be answered.

For some reason I felt a little down after this. But then I reminded myself, this is development and development is HARD.

It took three drafts of The Red Bride over the course of a year to overcome earlier objections – female lead, too complex, not marketable – to the point where we secured a development grant and now get to work with a US script consultant. For it all to start again.

The other project, In Total Unity, will go through the same sort of cycle as we break the story. The trick is to remind yourself that this is normal - the development of a feature film script is a process of evolution (and in my experience, the odd mutation that leads you in new directions).

I was a little disheartened because I was getting notes on: submission notes, the treatment, short supporting documents. Namely every damn aspect. But I know this level of interrogation is going to save me a lot of grief later. It can be meticulous, painstaking and frustrating… but absolutely essential.

Tonight I’ll re-read the TRB script then get a good night’s sleep. Tomorrow morning I’ll embark on the next step of that script’s journey. For ITU it’s back to the drawing board on the next iteration of the treatment… but with a clear idea of what changes need to be made.

To me, script development is a lot like a shark – if it stops moving forward it dies.

So back to the trenches I go!

Note: The above blog post was approved after copious notes, 14 drafts, 3 polishes and a page one rewrite, by a panel of three industry professionals, a local Government body, and extensive review by an independent Ombudsman…argggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

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