When to re-write

Hi all,

I've just finished my first feature script. Part of me wants to get a break and work on something new before I re-write so I can return with a fresh view. Would it be better to keep going and strike while the iron is hot?

How do you guys do this? I'm leaning towards giving the feature a break and developing something new then going back.

Thanks

Dave
 
I agree with Cameron too.

I find it always best to take a good few weeks prior to tackling a re-write.

I do though get professional feedback on every one of my scripts prior to doing a rewrite. I send it to 2 or 3 pro script analysis services I trust (always sub $100 ones, not the $500 script 'gurus'). I often do not agree with all of the feedback (some of it will hit you as being spot on straight away) but after a week or two reading and re-reading it, a lot of it will suddenly start making sense.

I highly recommend these folks (note I do some freelance work for them from time to time):

http://reelauthors.com/

Even if you decide not to use them, read their free pro screenwriting tips articles - they're super helpful.

But there are dozens you can use (some good, many terrible) - do a google on:

script coverage
screenplay coverage
coverage analysis

It does cost $$ but for me the good advice has been priceless.

And congrads on writing your first screenplay. :)
 
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directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
Not me.

I do not need a “fresh set of eyes” - I need to keep the momentum
going so I jump right is as soon as I finish the first draft and finish
that second. I know what the issues are - I don’t need to take a break.
 
I pretty much always take a break and set aside my work before rewriting. A fresh set of eyes will help you pick up on so many more issues than diving right back in.

Not me. I do not need a “fresh set of eyes” - I need to keep the momentum
going so I jump right is as soon as I finish the first draft and finish
that second. I know what the issues are - I don’t need to take a break.


....Well, these two posts pretty much establish the "bell curve" for when to do a re-write!

-Birdman
 
Not me.

I do not need a “fresh set of eyes” - I need to keep the momentum
going so I jump right is as soon as I finish the first draft and finish
that second. I know what the issues are - I don’t need to take a break.
Agreed.

Need a break? You likely don't have what it takes.

A fresh set of eyes? It's really crap and another set of eyes will make no difference. Start a major rewrite or start over.


:yes:
 
Agreed.

Need a break? You likely don't have what it takes.

A fresh set of eyes? It's really crap and another set of eyes will make no difference. Start a major rewrite or start over.


:yes:
If somebody is newer, they can benefit from professional analysis in large amounts. It's a little harsh to tell somebody to just start over, when you haven't seen anything.
 
Agreed.

Need a break? You likely don't have what it takes.

A fresh set of eyes? It's really crap and another set of eyes will make no difference. Start a major rewrite or start over.
...Now that's a pretty hard core way of looking at things, don't ya think? So I guess since Michelangelo took time off when creating the ceiling frescoes in the Sistine Chapel, he didn't "have what it takes" either?

-Birdman
 
Everyone has a different writing style. Because you have a different way of rewriting or writing doesn't mean "you don't have what it takes". Sometimes it's good to keep going and not stop, other times you want to take a break, and look back in. Play around with it. All directors and writers, no, anyone who makes art has their own process.
 
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Agreed.

Need a break? You likely don't have what it takes.

A fresh set of eyes? It's really crap and another set of eyes will make no difference. Start a major rewrite or start over.
Everyone has their opinion. If that works for you, then rocking.

It does not work for me and I have written five screenplays, placed in screenplay contest finals with three different scripts, been a Nicholl semifinalist etc. I'm not saying my method is better - no way. I'm just saying taking a step back, giving myself time between rewrites and getting peer and professional advice is important to me and works for me. I know it works for many others too. So too, I'm sure your method.

I think saying: 'You likely don't have what it takes.' is very harsh though and given you know so little about the posters, very unfair. And the thread was started by a fairly new poster.
 
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Personally, I have faith in the fresh eyes tactic, although, it's only after maybe a day or two (where, you know, reality can happen without pissing on my parade.) I think, unless there's something majorly bothering you, give it a day to rest, then come back. If something's really bothering you, you may try to find a group of friends who can read it out loud, it'll be a different perspective when you hear words from people.
 
In my "other life" (non-filmmaker) I'm a writer and to have any kind of success, one has to keep writing constantly. Start something and keep at until you've completed it. Slack off a bit and success will likely elude you.

As for my "starting over" comment, I believe if you've got something great going on your pages, you'll know it. If it appears to be a confused mess, it probably is.

"Feedback" is usually good, but remember the best stories are those personal to you. Don't lose that
 
When I write, I constantly self edit. When I finish a manuscript, I give my eyes a brief rest, no more than a few hours or a night at most, then read through from the beginning. At this point in the process I am still very connected with the material and know what I was trying to convey. As I read, I take notes. Once I finish reading, I go back and rewrite. After the first revision, I put the manuscript away for awhile, one to two weeks. After I have become sufficiently distracted by the rest of my life and the material is no longer fresh in my mind, I go back and re-re-read it. I read it all the way through as if it was someone else's project that was given to me. Once finished, I sit back and think about the overall impression of the work and what areas could use some tightening. I then go back through it making notes on revisions. Next step? You got it, rewrite. I then consider the project complete from a writing stand point. Any future revisions will be the result of specific notes from pre-production.

ETA: I put my very first feature screenplay on the shelf a couple of years ago and have not revisited it yet. I shelved that manuscript because, during the revision process, I realized that I was not good enough at screenwriting yet. Once I have some successful projects under my belt, I will dust off that screenplay and give it the rewrite that it deserves.
 
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In my "other life" (non-filmmaker) I'm a writer and to have any kind of success, one has to keep writing constantly. Start something and keep at until you've completed it. Slack off a bit and success will likely elude you.

As for my "starting over" comment, I believe if you've got something great going on your pages, you'll know it. If it appears to be a confused mess, it probably is.

"Feedback" is usually good, but remember the best stories are those personal to you. Don't lose that
Sure, but sometimes it's a good idea to take a break, and look over what you've written. Sometimes what you have written isn't as good as it seemed when you were in the writing groove.

It's not "slacking off", it's taking a break - not because you are tired or bored, but because you want to feel confident about your writing, and know that it's something good.

But I'm not going to argue the way people operate. There's no secret to trick to know when you [step of writing] during writing. If you keep writing, you'll eventually find your process and most productive way of working. You may be one of those people that keeps on going and going, while others want to see it from a new perspective.
 
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