camera obscura – revising the script

well, it turns out howard smith (the potential DP) won’t be able to work on my short film because he ended up getting a gig on a feature. marcia sent me 2 other DP’s to look at.

marcia also had sent my script to a reader to get some coverage, and i got some excellent notes. most were great things to consider. there were several instances where i left something vague in the script, and she wanted more detail. for example, here’s the opening of the script:

FADE IN:

EXT. DESERT ROAD – DAY
The late afternoon sun on an empty road.  A car drives by, weaving slightly.

her note was, “What kind of car?”

when i first wrote this, i wanted this to be like a parable so I left some things a little vague. but now that I’m preparing to shoot this script, i need to decide what kind of car. a beat up ’82 datsun tells you one thing while a shiny ferrari with tinted windows tells you something else. i need to show what kind of people are in that car, so i have to decide as the writer and the director. even if it’s not a specific make and model, a minivan paints a different picture than a convertible.

besides the impact that choice will have on the story and characters, describing the car will let the transportation department to find out about acquiring that car for the shoot, and that will affect the budget and schedule.

the reader also had a lot of notes about the character interaction. i have 2 characters, MIKE and SUSAN, a young couple. she suggested i lay in more conflict and introduce more of a backstory. while i don’t agree with some of the specifics of her notes, i remember one of my writing teachers told me you have to look at the note behind the note. the prescription may not be the right fix, but that doesn’t mean something doesn’t need fixing. in this case, i totally agree that the character interaction needs more work. i can lay in more conflict, and add subtext.

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