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It’s All About the Story

I’ve heard most writers let themselves live in the fantasy – that when they let the professionals read their screenplay – they’ll get notes back like: This is the perfect screenplay. How did you do this? Don’t change a thing… It can’t be improved upon.

And I’ll admit, I was living in that fantasy too. Then I got those notes back, and woke out of that very quickly.

The truth is… no screenplay is perfect when written, even after a few drafts. Film is a collaborative art form, and because I want this film to be as awesome as it can be, I have to do the painful work of listening to notes and pushing through rewrites.

So last week I did that. I listened to a few awesome people, and I pushed through another draft of the screenplay.

And the result is a leaner, shorter script (which I needed – it was too long).

And, ultimately, this means a more awesome story.

Reminds me of one of the scriptures at this film’s core:

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Or, I could say…

If I write the eloquent dialogue of artists and scholars, but have not story, my film is only a jumble of talking heads. If I get the most talented DP and can afford the most pristine cameras, and if I attached Steve Carrell and Sally Field, but have not story, my film is nothing. If I give all my time and my energy and the best direction possible, but have not story, I’ve told nothing.

At the end of the day… It’s all about the story!

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