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Home » Archives » June 2007 » Sweat, Not Letting Them See You Doing It
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06/27/2007: Sweat, Not Letting Them See You Doing It

Anyone out there want a couple quick ways to spruce up a script right before you submit it to something? Here are two things you can do quickly that might actually make a noticeable difference.

First, sweeten up those stage directions. They're your one chance to talk directly to the reader in your own voice, so make sure they're confident, visual, and evocative without going over-the-top. After you've worked on a script for a while, you've probably stopped even reading your own stage directions when you reread. Resist that, and give 'em a good looking-at. If anything feels familiar or flat or hesitant, work on it.

FLAT: "John enters. He looks terrible."
JUST RIGHT: "John enters, looking like a thousand flavors of crap."
TOO MUCH: "John enters, bearing the cares of his ancestors on his shoulders like a heavy yoke."

Second, tighten up your dialog. Look for extra sentences that you can pull out, and even just words. If a character says "I haven't seen her," consider changing it to "Haven't seen her." It's such a tiny change, but it keeps your lines from looking like the hyper-correct text in learn-to-read books.

That's it. A simple pass through your script with those two goals in mind can do wonders. The main point here is confidence. Both of these changes will suggest a relaxed, confident writer, and if you can project that, you're ahead of the game.

Lunch: juice, banana, cookie


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