May 27, 2010

THE WRITE STUFF: HOW TO CUT 25 PAGES FROM A TV PILOT? SIMPLE. JUST WRITE NEW STUFF!

The thing that is currently driving me up the walls, across the room and then down on the floor is re-writing and revising the TV pilot to The Cage. Remember when I told you that bad ideas are for lazy people? And that good ideas are back-breaking?

Yeah. That's exactly right.

But what I haven't told you is in order to make a good idea work… is to let go of your own good ideas. In my original draft of the TV pilot, there were a lot of good ideas, and they were all very well executed. But that one good idea that came up in my discussion with the producers, it  supersedes them all.

Curse them!

With a bit of luck, one of my most favourite actresses ever is going to play one of the leads. She does have a name, although I am not going to reveal it here and now. Too early in the game, and I don't want to jinx it. I wrote this particular role with her in my mind, and she's a class act. So I am crossing my fingers that somehow I can make this work, because I want to see her say the words I wrote on the small screen. And no, it's not the Divine Miss Kate. I have three actresses that I worship, professionally speaking, and this would be one of them.

And she is interested! Wheeeeeeeeeee! Be still my beating heart.

I have three acts revised now, and what I just noticed (at 3 AM) is that a lot of the really good stuff in the revisions… is fully new stuff. New dialogue. New scenes. Things that make the story smoother and faster. Now, I believe it's the job of the creator to make things better, it's the job of a producer and a development guy to poke their fingers in the holes, if there are any.

Although, in this particular case, it wasn't as much a hole as it was that damn thing in my head to make the pilot ultra-realistic. And while the scenes in question were exactly that, it also slowed them down quite a bit. So far I am happy with the new acts. Although I still have issues with having an act be 10-11 pages, not more. Primarily because I tend to write a lot of fast dialogue. Which takes up a shitload of space in Final Draft formatting.

If you ask yourselves, folks, why people in movies tend to talk in an often moronic structure?

That would be the reason.  But I'm quite confident that I won't fall into that particular trap. Because I know that trap is there. And knowing that is winning half the battle.

And with that, I will go and try to get some sleep.