Saturday, 3 March 2012

damn you, actors!

Last year I went to a script development workshop - a chance for writers to have their work dissected by actors and see what happens. I was there, I thought, under false pretences. My 15 minute script was already pretty great. I knew it was great because I'd seen it performed in Camden and it was amazing. Clever and funny and a little bit political.

So when, some uppity actress in the workshop had the cheek to tell me one of the characters was underdeveloped and the other one didn't half go on a bit ('wanking' all over the script as she memorably put it) I did what any sensible writer would do and completely dismissed all critiques and advice.

A year later (now) and I am in Budapest. I've joined a new writing group. I take this script, because it's the only script of mine I have printed out, and also I really want to impress people, and this is fucking dynamite.

And of course, I haven't looked at this script and it's a cold read-through and these people are great but not professional actors and OH MY GOD it's a mess. Character one is completely underdeveloped. Character two is totally self-indulgent, saying lots of clever lines that show how *great* I am at being a writer.


This is what I've learned then: don't judge your script from the version where brilliant actors and directors have taken it and made it work, because that is their job. Don't assume that your script is is brilliant, just because it's had a good performance. And, as ever, editing is a million times easier after a good break away from your script, when you're less embroiled in the amazing cleverness of it etc etc.

The good news is that the rewrite is going well, and who knows? Maybe one day soon I will also have a new idea or two which would be very welcome and all that.

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