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Screenwriting Help E-Mail (Previous)

Updated every Monday, one selected e-mail will be posted and answered here each week. With many years of experience in the film and television business, I look forward to providing answers to your questions (often with a humorous eye) about screenwriting or the entertainment industry in general.  Please send your e-mailed questions to: Script Advisor.  You may also wish to visit our Screenwriting Help E-Mails - The Archives.

This week's question: 

It gets so frustrating, going over and over my screenplay, trying to make it perfect.  Do you have any advice?


This week's Answer: 

The "Perfect Script"

Twila, I know how you feel.  We want to hand in our very best.  Hand in.  Sounds like school, doesn't it?  Which might be a clue to your problem.  Maybe you're harking back to those school days when your homework was due and you needed that "A" so you would be allowed to have recess so you could run around so fast and hard that you'd make yourself sick and throw up on your teacher.  In a way, that "going over" kind of activity does remind me of going over my homework when I was in school.  And, if you're like me, there could be a tension that accompanies such an action.

But there's an inherent problem here.  Perfection is rather difficult to attain.  Especially when it doesn't exist.  It's like trying to get to the top of a mountain that isn't there.  That's going to be a long climb.  Very long.  (Who was it, in referring to Mount Everest, said he was going to climb it because it was there?  Can you imagine if, instead, he said he was going to climb it because it wasn't there?)  Do you see the problem here?

Also, if you go over your screenplay over and over again, have you noticed how it seems to blur right before your very eyes and it's hard to even tell what you've written because you've seen it so many times?  The brain just seems to shut down.  I've found it's best to walk away from your script for periods of time.  Of course, tell it you'll be back and that you're not abandoning it.  You don't want to return to it one day, and, to your shock and horror, find that it has left you and ended up at RSA (Rejected Scripts Anonymous).  The "horror" part is a little strong, but, who knows?  You could have been writing a thriller.

I, personally, have gone over my scripts over and over again.  With my car.



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