Second Draft Feedback

Date posted on April 10, 2010

The email to which I’ve attached the new draft of my script bore the request for my producers to give me feedback AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

It was unfair for me to be so demanding considering that I was the one who was far behind schedule, but if we wanted to seriously make up for lost time, I needed them to read it quickly and let me know if there was anything urgent for me to fix. I wanted the opportunity to tweak it a bit before we send it out to the other heads of department for their own respective production breakdowns. (Besides, the draft’s delivery wouldn’t be delayed if I wasn’t sharing producing jobs with them).

I sent the email in the morning. By afternoon, my very diligent line producer had texted me this long message:

Raz, re draft 2, structure n pacing is better. Storytelling is mor cohesive n d writing is mor polishd. Nice opening scene, it captures atention agad, ilike d ending scene as well. Draft 2 delvs on issues more kaya mas informativ na, lyk ung scene ng 2 main characters. Lessbitplayers wc is always a gud thing n funnier ung dialogs. We get a clearer perspectiv on protagonist’s upbringing din. D chaptering device is a nice touch.I dfntly like draft2 better than draft1. Shoot na tayo!:-)

The next day, my mentor (who was also the film’s production consultant) woke me up (at 4.30 in the afternoon) to tell me that ‘okay na.’ She just had one very minor suggestion and said that everything else was good. She concluded by saying na ‘ang galing na talagang magsulat ng mga tinuruan’ nya – which I took to mean as an approval 😉

Second draft, baby! Ha!

I recently wrote about my struggle to complete this second draft. What I deliberately left out in that entry, in an attempt to avoid sounding arrogant or lazy, was that a huge part of why I was going around in circles, the reason I was resisting revision, was because I felt like the story was intact – and that the scenes I wrote were all integral, justified, and well-constructed.

The various comments on that draft were all welcome, of course, and I did have plans to incorporate new ideas that came about as a result of my various consultations.

However, I still felt like the draft didn’t need any real revision. I felt like it just needed some adjustments – concision and restructuring, as I summarized in my blog. Things that could be addressed as we got into rehearsals and on the set during production. I couldn’t come out and say that though because despite that confidence in the material, I thought: I can’t possibly go into production with a first draft!

To be fair though, that first draft went through a lot of personal and internal brainstorming. This wasn’t like back at work when a storyline or script or treatment was due for delivery after a couple of days or weeks of contemplation. This story has been in my head for quite a while, and I really have put in the work required. I’m a huge crusader of research – and even before I typed the first sequence of the script, I’ve gathered loads of it. That’s why during the writing of the second draft, I was in constant argument with myself whenever I was about to change a sequence from the old draft. I kept saying the script was already as perfect as it could possibly be.

That being said, the second draft did allow me to come up with fresh innovations that wouldn’t have been discovered if I allowed my self to be defeated by complacency. Cause really, that’s all it was. True, I didn’t really make any drastic change in the second draft. But I also had to acknowledge that no draft could be perfect (I’ve read articles where producers made mention of a script that was perfect – I don’t buy it). What my personal experience has taught me is that the key is acknowledging when a draft perfectly captured all that needed to be said and shown – and having the openness, confidence and optimism that even when you decide that it’s time to leave the pages, it can only get better henceforth.

Well, sana nga maayos na ‘to and they’re not just rushing their comments because I was rushing them, hehe… Perhaps I really do know how to write na, and efficiently, after all those years of toiling in my previous company.

***

After getting that initial round of feedback, I finally had the courage to send it out to my professional confidantes – the close knit of friends whose opinions about my writing I genuinely value.

I had lunch with one of them later in the afternoon. After perfunctory hi’s, she said she just read my script – and she started laughing. She said it was very funny. The remaining time waiting for our other friend to arrive, we spent talking about the actors I was eyeing to play the parts in the script.

So I also took that as a good sign 🙂

***

I’m quite pumped by the positive feedback thus far. I just hope I’m able to carry it over to the shoot and that all the other preprod snags that we’ve been running into won’t get in the way of this alright script. Once, I told my friend that I’m quite confident with the material. I’m not saying it’s earth shattering, but I know that it’s worth watching.

The script’s alright. I just hope the director doesn’t mess it up!