Script Editing

Script Editing. The practice of giving notes on screenplays, designed to aid the writer and producer in moving the script towards successful production

When scripts fail, movies fail.

I have developed a unique, powerful and cost-effective approach to script editing, which significantly cuts down the number of drafts a script needs before it is ready to progress into pre-production. It is a simple way of dissecting any script so both the writer and the development team can clearly see the areas of weakness in any script. The evaluation is presented in one simple, colour-coded document. A document which helps producers see clearly what made it onto the page. This analysis empowers writers to fill the gaps, create stronger characters, and develop better storylines.

top sheet – colour-coded analysis shows where characters and the plot are underdeveloped

What makes my methodology effective is the way I remove the subjective opinion of the script-editor from the process. It comes as close, as is humanly possible, to an objective analysis of the script. It is literally a report on what made it onto the page. And, what didn’t.

This method is better for developing writers because it isn’t a case of arguing my opinions as the script-editor vs their opinions as the writer. The report clearly shows what information is contained in the script, and presents it in a way that allows the producer and the writer to have an informed dialogue about what’s working and what’s not.

If you look at the example I have provided, the top sheet (above) shows you the protagonist and antagonist aren’t fully rounded characters; and, that the major supporting characters are really two-dimensional. This information provides the basis for creative and productive development meetings, simply because it doesn’t offer solutions, only opportunities. The creative choices stay with the development team. So, for instance, your team might decide to make the protagonist more active and with clearer motivation. However, a different team might decide to dig deeper into their character’s backstories. The strength of this kind of script report is that it doesn’t dictate solutions, it is entirely diagnostic.

When you look at the plot sheet (below), it becomes obvious the protagonist has an almost complete (but underdeveloped) story arc, but both the antagonist and the stakes character disappear for huge periods of time. We can see at a glance that the other characters barely make it into the story. Again, it is entirely up to the development team how they use this information.

Plot analysis reveals the arc of ALL major characters and shows obvious plot weaknesses