Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Notes -AKA- You asked for it

Reader's Notes are a funny thing. On the one hand it's clear that working in a vacuum is a dangerous way to write, but putting your work in someone else's hands is a frightening alternative. Upon completing the last draft I made a decision to print up twenty copies of the 120 page script and distribute them amongst my friends and colleagues, asking each reader to provide me with a set of notes. It seemed like the right move to make. At a certain point it becomes difficult to kick one's own ass—how can you make something better if all you see is the good elements. However, I had felt that after all this effort I was nearing the peak of a mountain, and now suddenly I fear that I'm only a few steps from the base-camp.

The main difficulty is who can you trust? One reader's favorite scene is another's most hated. Reader A feels like the drama is too flat, while Reader B feels it's overstated. My girlfriend Sierra tells me that "I love it," with no comments following is a bad set of notes, but at this point that's all I really want to hear. One of my associates, a fellow writer, unabashedly admitted the he dislikes the route I've taken with the script, but part of me is tempted to take that as a compliment. My mom's notes where pretty helpful, even though she found the screenplay too crude and violent (going back over the first few scenes today I suddenly felt a little embarrassed at just how rude some of my characters had acted in front of my mother). It's all just kind of overwhelming. I wish I could just process the notes quickly, not take it too personally and then climb back into my vacuum to do another re-write, but I've got a development grant due on Thursday and I need to really decipher who's on the money and who's way off base. I guess it's better to be dealing with this now, rather than at the first screening—although from experience I’d put money on the fact that I'll be receiving a little feedback at that point too.


At July 14, 2005 1:05 PM, Blogger fiftyfootgirl said...

and don't forget the people who said "SURE! I'll read your script!" and then DON'T. I'm reading an average of 2 pages a day, so at this rate you will have already shot the damn thing before I've finished reading the draft! Bad bad friend. But I do like what I've read so far, and after seeing the rough cut of your short (which, dear readers, is AMAZING- look out for it, it'll be making the festival circuit for sure-), I have a lot of faith that the feature will exceed my expectations too.
Hang in there- by the time I'm done, you might be ready for more feedback again.


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