Pegasus Rampant - The First Draft

Posted Monday, August 11, 2008, 9:15 PM

I have just completed writing my first ever feature length movie script.

I started it as an experiment to see if I could do it. Having just come off from writing a short film script, and finding it to be a fun and exciting challenge to complete to my own satisfaction, the next step of writing something longer was one I felt enthused by.

A first draft is not going to be very good, but that's deliberate. The trick to it is to just write everything out, the whole story, without refining it too much, just to have it down on paper. As a wise person once said, it's easier to edit existing text, than it is to fill a blank page. So I just wrote it all down with stream-of-consciousness storytelling, because I knew that I would be going back over it again, and again, and perhaps even again, before it's ready to be shown around anywhere.

And it's true, not even halfway through the writing of it, I could see so many things wrong that I would need to adjust and replace and fix up later. Whole plot strands that I thought were important petered out over the course of the story, so I'll have to tidy up those loose ends. Characters I introduced had no follow up, so they'll have to go. Other characters I didn't expect to introduce will need to be referenced earlier in the story to uphold good continuity. Scenes need to be tightened to add excitement and urgency, or lengthened for pacing. And of course, the dialogue will have to be punched up so it sizzles.

But that's the fun of it. As soon as it gets boring I'll stop, but right at this moment I'm rearing to go. I can't wait to get stuck in and make the story better.

I have no illusions that this script would ever get picked up and made. I suppose it might, if I managed to find a way to sell it, but that isn't the point of why I am doing this. It's a personal challenge, a test to see if I am capable of writing a good tale, of completing it to its end, to see if it excites me enough to want to do it a second or third time, and more importantly to see if I can write something that is entirely my own that is as good as (or better than) some of the movies I see actually get made. Can I do it as well as the professionals?

More than likely, if I did manage to sell it, it would be rewritten again by somebody else, then changed again by the Director, and in the Editing, to the point where it wouldn't be the script I wrote after all. That's how the business works, and I have no illusions that my written word is sacrosanct. Even the greatest movies of all time, directed by the greatest movie makers of all time, buggered about with the script to get it into the shape they thought it needed to be. I accept that, though as long as the heart of it was there, if the plot was mostly intact, and if some of the better dialogue was kept, I'd be gloriously happy to see it up on the big screen.

Perhaps one day that will happen.

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