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  • Anthony Hett

How to write a short film - Editing your scripts

Hello and welcome to my blog, where I offer simple and practical advice on how to write and make an interesting, engaging and hopefully successful short film.


In today's blog post I will be taking a close look at Editing your scripts.



Editing your scripts can be a big task that can sometimes feel a little daunting but it is important to remember that it is an essential element of the scriptwriting process. It is a key step towards having a coherent, professional and entertaining script that other people are going to read and want to help you bring to life. It is therefore critical that it is something you fully embrace and try to become as proficient as possible at.


With that in mind, here are some tips and techniques to help you get the most out of the editing process.


Rest

After finishing a draft, take some time away from your screenplay. Writing a script can be draining, as can the editing process. Therefore, it can be a good idea to take sometime between the two processes to rest and to get away from your script a little. You can then return to it feeling refreshed, assessing your script with a fresh pair of eyes.


Proofreading

Proofreading is the process of reading your script carefully, checking for errors in spelling, grammar, capitalization, punctuation and syntax. These mistakes, especially spelling mistakes, can often be difficult for the writer to spot in their own work and so it might be helpful to get somebody else to proof read your script for you, if possible.


Scene order

When editing your scripts I think it is important to take the time to think carefully about the order of your scenes. You may have already done so when writing your outline but even then, things often change during the writing process. I would therefore consider whether the scene order and the flow of the script could be improved by reordering some of your scenes. For example: do you reveal a certain piece of information in a scene that would better serve the story, if this information was revealed to the audience either earlier or later in the film?


Dialogue

As I mentioned in my previous blog posts Writing dialogue (part one) & Writing dialogue (part two), I believe that it is crucial to make sure that your characters have original, believable voices. A lot of this can be worked out when you are building your characters, make sure to check out my posts on Character breakdowns and Character bibles. So when you are editing your dialogue, ask yourself: do my characters have original and believable voices? Is my dialogue true to my characters? And also try to remember that a film is a visual medium and so it is always important to show don’t tell, whenever possible.


Readers

Readers are invaluable. It is always helpful to have some extra eyes on your project. You know your script inside out, having lived with your story and its characters for weeks, months or even years. Your readers however, only have what is written on the page and so they are well positioned to tell you if your script makes sense, if it is exciting and engaging, and if they care about your characters and what happens to them. I would therefore always advise getting feedback on your work when you can. This is something I will be writing about in more detail over the next two blog posts: Receiving feedback and Giving feedback.



So those are some of my thoughts Editing your scripts. I hope that you found this post helpful. Let me know what you think in the comments below and be sure to check out my YouTube videos. In my next blog I will be discussing Receiving feedback.