Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Second Drafts Are For Structure

After taking a week or so off to vaguely contemplate future screenplays and play/write various game stuff, I'm back to the screenplay in progress. This is the second draft and I've picked up the habit where this draft gets devoted almost wholly to structure.

Part of that typically involves trimming 7-10 pages out of the first act. For some reason the fat goes right there -- I think it's because I have a bit of floundering starting out, and I'm trying to get the characters and their issues down, so I end up repeating myself a lot.

The big structural thing I look at is level of tension at different points in the script. This feels almost like putting together a musical composition, where I want some lulls or low tempo sequences, then high tension bits. And, sometimes, it's fun to play with a high tension bit and see how long you can make it without losing that tension, kind of like having a long riff in a song (not that I have any real knowledge of music). I particularly enjoy doing this in the first big action sequence.


Anonymous said...

yep, I am finding that right now. I am well into Act 2 on this draft, but I can see the fat in 1

Steve Peterson said...

The initial bit of fat usually cuts pretty easy, but there's always a couple extra pages you ought to trim and doing that is like cutting off fingers.