361MC: Final Media Production #4 – Script Development #2: Rewriting

(Leslie Stewart, Clifton Stewart)

(Crossbow, Aquarius Films)

“The first draft of anything is shit”, Ernest Hemingway

“It was the most simple story,’ Arndt says. ‘That’s a mistake a lot of scripts make: Their plots are too complicated, so you don’t have time for characters.’ So he kept working on it, writing it over and over and over, 100 drafts, until it was as good as he could get it.”

That script was Little Miss Sunshine. The script created buzz as soon as it was sent out, but it would still take five years to get it produced and released.


“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.” Stephen King

  • Too long of everything just said
  • Important template for all to follow
  • Going back for reference if losing focus

The Re-Write

  • Focus on story
  • Lose over written dialogue
  • Lose non essential scenes
  • Tighten overall structure
  • Can also be rewarding work w/ a script editor

More Re-Writing

  • Re-writes
  • Keeping on track
  • Dangers of overwriting
  • Underwriting of ideas
  • What can be lost between drafts
  • Keep track of changes

First Draft

  • Keeps the narrative on track
  • First draft should not be changed or shown to others, wait for a week to re read and develop the second draft of the script.
  • Overlong
  • Over complex
  • Clunky dialogue
  • Plot holes
  • Unnecessary scenes or dialogue
  • First drafts can help with the later drafts with continuity

Script Editor

  • Provide copious notes that cover and detail all aspects of the script
  • Breaking them down into positive areas and other areas that need attention
  • Their best interest for you to write a great script
  • When your losing sight of your original idea and intention

The Active Question

  • You can find out the story becomes even more complicated without realising it
  • You will lose the spirit of the first draft


  • Track each of your main script drafts
  • Major changes in a cover sheet, at which point a specific aspect was added or changed or lost
  • Date each versions of scripts for future reference
  • Be good
  • Be creative
  • Keep script editor informed and involved
  • If a suggestion is made, come back with something better
  • Take notes

Final Stages

  • Script is finished when the producer tell you it is
  • Hopefully before production, but you may be asked to write/change during the shooting process
  • Editing process writer can be asked questions about the story

The Production Depends On You

  • Director
  • Producer
  • Equipment
  • Camera Operator
  • Sound
  • Lighting
  • Art Director
  • Cast
  • Catering
  • Distributors
  • And possibly fans…


(Re-writing For Authors)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom/ (BBC Writers Room)







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