A couple of weeks ago I invited a script client of mine to my mountaintop home in New Hampshire to do some intensive work on a promising project he’d been developing. We’d been working on it over the phone and via email for some time and we both agreed that it would be optimal if the two of us could actually grapple with the script together in person and hopefully pin it to the mat once and for all.
My client arrived in the early evening. We’d never met in person so we spent that first night having dinner and getting to know each other. We had agreed that we’d hit the ground running the next morning and spend the entire day, as late as we felt we could be productive, with the goal of coming up with a script outline that really worked—clearly defined primary need of the central character, strong build in momentum, a definite sense of arrival at the end of the journey, etc.
There were already three different completed versions of this particular script, none of which my client was happy with. Needless to say, he knew his characters extremely well and had a good sense of what he wanted to accomplish with the piece, but he was having trouble giving and sustaining a clear focus as the central character journeyed through the story. The project clearly needed to be deconstructed and rebuilt in order to find the best route through the terrain of the story world and to have the piece land where the author intended it to land and to do so with real punch.
So by 9AM the next day we were in my living room ready to go. Years ago I built an eight-foot-long pine table that sits under large windows in that room. I set a thick stack of 3x5 index cards on the table and my client opened his computer to his script files. And we were off and running.
To be continued…