Thursday 17 October 2013

Bluestone 42 - Field Notes No. 2 - Ironing

So, today Bluestone 42 was a blend of notes, rewriting, read through, more notes and more rewrites.  Richard and I were doing the ironing.

What is ironing?

Pic by ItsGreg via Flickr
Overall, the scripts seem to be in good shape - if I do say so myself, but you'll be the judge ultimately. But every scripts has wrinkles and creases that need smoothing out. What kind of wrinkles are they? There a lines that don't quite sound natural, or feel annoyingly long and need trimming, or have already been trimmed to much and don't make sense. An off-hand line that implies the story is going to go one way, it isn't. And that doesn't feel nicely surprising, quite annoying.

The scripts have been heavily rewritten six or seven times in the last six months - and tinkered with a dozen times more. There are lines that made sense three drafts ago, but aren't right now, and need tweaking. Jokes have been added. Some moved. Others deleted and a mental note made to use another time, context permitting. We try to operate a No Joke Left Behind policy so one or two jokes from scenes or bits several drafts ago have been reinstated.

Sometimes what was a joke turns out to be the set up to a better joke. Sometimes you improve a line which is now a better line that the joke that follows it - so you're probably going to cut that second joke - unless you need it to move things along, in which case, it's feels a bit eggy since it's not as good as the joke before it so you now need to de-joke that second line. Or find a way of cutting it so it's all silky smooth. (But you don't iron silk, right?)

There is always the temptation to back off, go easy and assume you can fix things on the day. When you're shooting 7 pages a day, there's no little time to fix things. Fix them now. The day of the shoot itself will throw up problems of it's own. There's also the temptation you can fix it in the edit. You can't. If you don't have the shots, you really can't do anything about it. It needs to be fixed now.

It takes ages, your brain turns to mush and sometimes you just want it be over. A bit like actual ironing. But it's worth it.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with the above. Sometimes when you've re-read the same joke or payoff about 25 times you actually question if it's funny anymore and then the temptation is to change or delete it. I try and avoid this but it's hard.

    I also find reading it together with a another pair of eyes helps. If you need to narrate of explain something to them then you've got some ironing to do