by Jennifer Bozell
You’ve spent countless hours crafting your script. In your eyes, it’s a masterpiece. So when someone reads it and has notes you weren’t expecting, it can sometimes be demoralizing.
In these moments, though, it’s best to put your ego aside and listen to the notes. Remember – whether you’re developing that project for a buyer, or for a producer, agent or manager who’s going to shop it to buyers – you all have the same goal. You all want to see a wonderful, unique piece of content created that buyers will spark to and that audiences will enjoy. It’s up to you to take all those notes and make the improvements in your next draft. But sometimes, there are forces at play involved that go beyond simply creating an excellent script.
Keeping this in mind, below are two important points to consider as you embark on your re-write:
THE BUYER’S NEEDS
Say your project is a cop procedural TV series with soap opera elements. You’ve turned in your first draft to the production company, and it’s exactly what you pitched them. But the production company is hearing that the networks have already bought a number of procedurals this year. The best chance for you to get your project sold is to amp up the soapy part of your script, and tone down the procedural elements. Frustrating? Sure. But buyers can change their minds on what they’re looking for, even after a sale. You need to be able to roll with the punches and adapt your project as much as possible into something that fits with their needs.
THE CURRENT MARKETPLACE
Understand that market trends can also affect the notes you’re being given. If you’re writing an action movie, and it just so happens that the last three action movies that came out bombed at the box office, you may find that the notes you are given reflect that. The producers you’re working with may try to steer your project in an alternate direction, i.e. to try to shield it from comparisons to the recent box office misfires.
It can be a challenge when these forces outside your control affect the development of your project. But if you can adapt and make the necessary changes, you might find that not only does your project improve, your overall writing skills may too.