A Mastering Film Three-Fer: On Writing

I know, I know. My capacity for posting these pieces here has right shit of late. But nonetheless, here we go…

In my last post, I talked about one of the most important steps you take as a writer: walking away between the first and second drafts so you an approach the rewrite as objectively as possible. Now, here are three guidelines (I hate to say rules) I live by when rewriting.

Your Enemy Is Now Your Friend

The delete key. I don’t use it in first drafts (that I don’t handwrite anyhow). It’s anathema to the process of first draft writing. It implies going back when the purpose of the first draft is to push forward. If I could disable it, I would.


Next up…

Let’s take a brief interlude from our discussion about rewrites (Just Walk Away, The Delete Key Kills the First Draft). At this point, you’ve been with that initial germ of an idea for awhile. Maybe a month. Maybe a year. How’s the relationship going? Is it a love story with a happy ending; a saccharine-sweet swan boat ride?

Or, is it halfway between love and hate, with the line constantly blurring? Does every word it says to you make you tense? Do you occasionally do the dishes? Or does it demand everything from you?

This goes all the way back to the beginning of your project. You’ve had the idea. It’s your first date. The rush of it is still with you. Maybe you chatted the idea up a bit. You and your idea had an amazing night together. And then you called back. And you went out again. And again. And again…


And finally…

The engines rev. That familiar guitar tune kicks up. Cars zoom past the screen, accompanied by silhouetted characters standing all cool-like. Because silhouettes are cool. Then, a non-descript American accent. Wait a sec. Then, three dudes on a stage. Still no accent. There’s no life. It’s just dudes and cars. Which is boring as hell except to the most devoted gear-heads.

The show and bitter disappointment I’m speaking of is the American version of Top Gear, which, simply put, is three guys talking about cars. The British version, hosted by Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May (also three guys talking about cars) takes that concept and makes it fun and appealing even to those who couldn’t care less about the difference between an alternator and horsepower. As a trio, Clarkson, Hammond, and May are characters in the truest sense of the word. Their chemistry is infectious. They’re fun. They’re memorable. They’re not the American version. That show’s just three guys and some cars, where the alternator has more personality.

Character is everything.

Keep reading… CHARACTER IS…


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.