by Michael Chasin
Screenwriting Mentor, IAFT/Miami
Real screenwriting—is re-writing—because it’s rarely perfect in the first draft.
And even if seemingly perfect, the dedicated screenwriter will labor to make it—more perfect.
Then, finally, after double-digit drafts—the screenplay is ready—not for submission—but to be read by someone else.
Because after months of contemplating the story and characters, after diligent research, and after countless drafts—the screenwriter has lost all objectivity.
What the screenwriter may think obvious—may in fact be baffling.
What the screenwriter may think requires explanation—may in fact be clear.
So new eyes are important—and having the right readers—is crucial.
Readers may be fellow screenwriters, or directors, producers, or even actors.
Readers may be other storytellers—such as playwrights, songwriters, or novelists.
These fellow artists are able to give professional level analysis, noting character and structural strengths and weaknesses.
Readers may also be folks—who are not in any artistic endeavor.
It is very likely that these civilians will provide—the most valuable feedback of all.
Civilian readers are unfettered by screenwriting paradigms and are therefore able to report on a screenplay’s clarity—and its most important element—its emotion.
A balance of artist and civilian feedback is ideal—and a great source from which—to continue re-writing.
So develop readers—and respect their feedback.
Thank them for their time and effort—and willingly reciprocate.
Real screenwriting—is re-writing—from the real feedback—of great readers.