Friday, 20 March 2020

7 Steps To Becoming Your Own Script Editor



So, your first draft is done! 

But as we all know that is not the end of our journey with this script and there’s still work ahead of us.

To break this down a little, I have created this 7-step guide that you can easily use as a template when you next have to get into the role of script editor for your own (or someone else’s) project!


Formatting


This one is pretty self-explanatory. 

While programs such as Final Draft kind of do the work for us, mistakes can happen and so it is super important to double-check if what you have written so far follows the industry standard. 

As we all know, the first impression counts and that also goes for our scripts!


Plot



While you have most likely planned and outlined your story to the breaking point before even attempting to write the first draft, now is the right time to check if it really works the way you intended. 

It's very easy to get lost in the rabbit hole of editing!

So, for every single scene,  really think about whether you need it or whether it might just drag your story on longer than it needs to be. 

If so, cut those scenes, or at least shorten them as much as possible. 

After all, we don’t want unnecessary weight to pull our story down and make it a boring read or watch!


Characters


Over time we all become attached to our characters, but it is super important not to lose sight and still be able to change what needs to be changed. 

Think about whether your characters are consistent and stay true to themselves. 

Do they have a clear goal or motivation that keeps them going? 
Do they have clear opinions and do they view the world around them in a particular way? And what is it that makes them unique? 

Realistic characters with flaws that are relatable are arguably the most important part of your screenplay, so make sure you get there!


Dialogue



Dialogue is an amazing tool, when used right. It's key in making your script stand out, and you characters coming alive!

When going through your script, consider with every single line if it is necessary or just drags your story on. If what your character is saying seems a little on the nose or could be shown visually, cut it, and do exactly that. 

It is always better to show rather than tell when possible, so stick to that rule whenever possible and you will have yourself some amazing dialogue that actually adds to your story. 


Pacing


When the pacing seems off, it can really ruin all the hard work you put into your project, so it is important to consider this aspect. 

Do certain plot lines seem to stretch out unnecessarily long? Do others perhaps get introduced a little too quickly, making it seem forced and unnatural? 

When looking at your outline, consider if maybe there are certain scenes you could rearrange in order to make the script flow right again and make it feel more organic. 


Tone


The tone is a really important aspect in any screenplay since it is the thing that will make your readers or audience feel at home and make them come back for more. 

It is something very unique to each story and what holds the script together, so think about whether you have managed to make it feel consistent throughout your storyline. 


The bigger picture


Now that you have thought about certain aspects, look at the script as a bigger picture. 

Does it all work together and flow naturally? 

To find out, what you have to do is re-read your work over and over and over again and also give it to others whose opinions you really trust and care about. 

Feedback is something super valuable that can really enhance your script like nothing else!



Jenny Schwender is in her second year of studying Scriptwriting for Film and Television at Bournemouth University. 

She is currently working on a dramedy pilot episode and various short scripts while exploring life on set through different film productions in Germany. 

To know what she’s up to, you can follow her insta @jennyyy_000.

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