Sample of Assisted Rewrite

The following is a scene from a screenwriter’s draft before and after an assisted rewrite :

*Due to space limitations, this is presented in an approximation of script formatting.  Please see our full page presentation of the first page of this rewritten Script in Current Studio Format.

 


Original Script before rewrite

Script after assisted rewrite





INT.  ANTHONY’S PENTHOUSE- NIGHT

Cassie is dressed in a tight, black dress with an open back. Her hair is pulled back. She rings the doorbell. Anthony opens the door. He looks at Cassie without saying a word. He just stares at her.



                CASSIE
           (smiles)
      Hi.

                ANTHONY
           (smiles)
      You look.....beautiful!

Anthony grabs her hand and pulls her inside the apartment. Cassie looks around in awe.

                CASSIE
      Great place!

                ANTHONY
      Thanks!










He grabs her hand and starts pulling her towards the balcony.












                CASSIE
      Where are we going?

                ANTHONY
           (grins)
      You'll see.









Anthony leads Cassie on to the balcony. There’s a spiral staircase.  They climb up the staircase. Cassie is behind Anthony. They step on the roof top. Candles are lit up everywhere. There’s a table set for two. Soft music is playing in the background. Cassie looks around her in amazement. She turns and looks at Anthony appreciatively. She smiles at him.











                CASSIE
           (walks closer)
      Anthony! This is incredible!

                ANTHONY
           (bowing to Cassie)
      I’m glad it pleases my lady!


                CASSIE
           (laughs)
      Yes. She is very pleased.



Anthony pulls out a chair for Cassie. She sits down and Anthony sits down opposite her. A waiter comes out of nowhere and pours wine into their wine glasses. Anthony keeps staring at Cassie.
















































                CASSIE
           (smiles shyly)
      You’re embarrassing me.

                ANTHONY
      I’m sorry! But, I can’t take my
      eyes off you.

                CASSIE
      Anthony, I......





                ANTHONY
           (lifts his glass up for a toast)
      Shhhh. Here's to us.





                CASSIE
           (hesitates)
      I’m not another name in your black
      book, am I?





                ANTHONY
           (serious)
      Never!







Cassie lifts her glass too and they sip their wines. Anthony and Cassie keep looking at each other. There’s a full moon in the sky. The stars are shining. It’s a warm summer night. The music is playing. They talk. They eat. They dance and hold hands. Time passes. While they’re dancing to a slow song, suddenly there’s a loud buzzing sound over their heads. A bright, powerful floodlight shines down on them. A helicopter is hovering above them and a man with a camera is filming them. Cassie starts to fall backwards. Anthony grabs her. The waiter carrying a dessert trays falls down and the tray flies out of his hand over the balcony and falls on top of a car parked below on the street. The table turns over. The candles all blow out and fall. Cassie’s hairpins all fall out of her hair. She starts screaming. Anthony grabs her hand and pulls her towards the spiral staircase. They quickly climb down and enter the penthouse. Anthony closes the double doors.

scene starts with sound for variety:
A DOORBELL RINGS.


INT. ANTHONY’S PENTHOUSE - NIGHT
more expressive description:


Well-appointed, definitely by a bachelor with eclectic tastes, Anthony, who is dressed impeccably, opens the door, revealing... Cassie, dressed in a tight, black dress with an open back, her hair pulled back. The word is “stunning.”

                CASSIE
           (smiles)
      Hi.

removed Anthony's flat, sentimental dialogue
insert silent action for tension and comedic tone:


Anthony gawks at her, speechless. Cassie looks around her as though she thinks he is looking at someone or something else, then realizes that he is looking only at her.


continue dialogue for romantic tension:


           (self-conscious;
           playful)
      Something wrong?

Anthony breaks out of his daze.

                ANTHONY
           (smiles)
      No, not at all. In fact
      everything is... just right.


Action is more realistic and flows better:

Cassie blushes from the compliment, but soaks it in. Covering his own nervousness, like a schoolboy, Anthony grabs Cassie’s hand and starts pulling her towards the balcony. While being rushed through his apartment, she looks all around her in awe as:

Cassie's dialogue shows her sense of humor:
                CASSIE
      Nice place you have.

                ANTHONY
      Thank you.

                CASSIE
           (quietly with concern)
      Uh... Where are we going?

                ANTHONY
           (grinning)
      You'll see.
Action of losing shoe focuses on Cassie, creating interesting moment, along with romantic, story-book, Cinderella's slipper symbolism:

Cassie loses a shoe, but somehow manages to sweep it up before it is out of reach. Anthony leads her onto:

Balcony and rooftops are shown as separate exteriors:

EXT. ANTHONY’S BALCONY - NIGHT

Complete with a spiral staircase, which they climb, Cassie as gracefully as possible putting her shoe back on while ascending behind Anthony. They step onto:

EXT. ROOFTOP - NIGHT

Cassie’s mouth drops as she takes in lit candles everywhere, a table romantically set for two, SOFT MUSIC playing in the background. She looks around her in wonderment and approaches the table.


"incredible" (overused) is changed to "amazing":

                CASSIE
      Anthony, this is... amazing.

                ANTHONY
           (bowing to Cassie)
      It pleases m' lady?


Mushy dialogue is tempered with Cassie's sharp wit:

                CASSIE
      Oh, you passed "pleasing" a long
      time ago.  (laughs)

"WAITER" is capitalized to show a new character:

Anthony pulls out a chair for Cassie. She sits down and Anthony sits down opposite her. A WAITER comes out of nowhere and pours wine into their wine glasses, and quickly vanishes. Anthony keeps staring at Cassie.

The following dialogue is added to create romantic tension and to show Cassie's humor and perceptive abilities:

                CASSIE
           (quietly with concern)
      What, no violinists?

Anthony shows surprised disappointment.

                ANTHONY
      You're right.

He flips out a cell-phone and starts to dial, when Cassie gently puts her hand on his arm.

                CASSIE
      I was kidding.

Anthony self-consciously puts away the phone.

                ANTHONY
      Oh... Of course.

Cassie gives him an amazed look as she barely shakes her head.

                CASSIE
      You were going to do it,
      weren't you?

                ANTHONY
      Well... yes.

                CASSIE
      You're amazing.  So much wealth
      and influence... Yet, when I 
      look at your eyes... they seem...
      sad.

                ANTHONY
      My eyes?  Oh, that must be the
      candlelight.
           (changing the subject)
       Which, if I might add, you look
       very good in.  (gazing at her)

                CASSIE
           (self-consciously)
      Anthony, you're embarrassing me.

                ANTHONY
      I'm sorry; I don't meant to.
      It's just that's it's hard to 
      take my eyes off you.

                CASSIE
      Anthony, I--  


"Shhh" is written before parenthetical to delineate the subsequent separate action of toasting:

                ANTHONY
      Shhh.
           (toasting with glass)
      Here's to us.


"hesitantly" is used in parenthesis to show how Cassie's dialogue is delivered with hesitation:

                CASSIE
           (hesitantly)
      I'm not just another name in
      your black book, am I?

Just by changing the exclamation point to a period tones down Anthony's line, which came across as melodramatic:

                ANTHONY
           (serious; soothingly)
      Never.

The following description suits the romantic aspect of the genre (romantic comedy). The "time passes" note has been cut to not lose the romantic tension , and, instead, we have the opportunity of seeing Cassie come together by showing Anthony asking her to dance and the two of them proceeding to dance, thereby creating a stronger, romantic tone:

Cassie lifts her glass and they sip their wine, continuing to gaze into each other’s eyes. We come in close on Cassie’s eyes, one of them reflecting a full moon in the sky. The stars are shining brightly. The sultry music keeps rhythm to the warm summer breeze, which caresses Cassie’s hair. Anthony offers his hand and indicates that he wants to dance with her. Cassie puts her hand in his and they fluidly take the floor and dance together, both of them sensing the magic and attraction, which brings them physically closer moment by moment.

The next action sequence is accented by starting a new paragraph. The helicopter and the cameraman is revealed in a more dramatic and cinematicfashion.

A loud, REVERBERATING SOUND pierces the air above their heads. Cassie and Anthony are hit with a bright, floodlight that emanates from a helicopter hovering above them, a MAN inside it with a camera filming them. The vibration from the rotors shakes the table, the wine glasses dancing by themselves, losing their precious contents.


Now we're focused on Cassie and Anthony in a new paragraph:


Cassie covers her eyes from the powerful beam, as the generated air currents snuff out all the candles at the same moment, and knock her backwards. Anthony grabs her. The nonplussed, entering waiter stumbles and loses a dessert tray over the balcony. The table turns over, sending all that was on it CRASHING to the floor.


Once again, the extended action is broken up with another paragraph. "SCREAM" is capitalized because it is a sound.
Entering the penthouse is cut because it is a new scene and will be designated as an interior:

Cassie’s hairpins become dislodged and her tresses fall ungracefully about her. She can take no more, an uncontrollable SCREAM erupting from her desperate mouth. Anthony grabs her hand and pulls her towards the spiral staircase as they are whipped by the synthetic wind. They quickly clamber down the staircase and enter:

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