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Handling Revisions for a Locked Shooting Script

March 01, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 155

A big part of screenwriting is handling script revisions for a locked shooting script that's already filming. Locked shooting scripts are basically the road map of what's to be filmed with page numbers, scene numbers etc.

There will always be script revisions for a locked shooting script. The unknown for a screenwriter is at what point and when these script revisions will pop up and have to be handled to keep the show on budget and schedule.

The Hollywood screenwriter working in the studio system and being represented by a power agent like fictional Ari Gold from Entourage works in a different arena than a screenwriter who is cutting their teeth with nonunion indie film writing gigs as they build their name.

I'm not going touch on the Writers Guild of America and contracts struck between multimillionaire agents, multimillionaire producers and screenwriters writing the latest Hollywood blockbuster. I'm working hard like other fellow screenwriters to get to that land of milk of honey.

The nonunion indie film scene runs different than the Hollywood film scene for screenwriters. It's much more common for an indie movie director to also be one of the screenwriters. This makes handling script revisions on the fly easier because in essence the screenwriter is also on set at all times and knows what's going on.

Even if the indie movie director is not a screenwriter usually the screenwriter is on set as part of the production team. Indie cinema is all about people wearing different hats to get a movie done.

Making changes to the locked shooting script can be done on the fly without losing too much time as long as an indie movie director and screenwriter can be creatively flexible. The key to survival during shooting of an indie film is to handle script revisions as quickly as possible.

That's why I feel it is important to always have the screenwriter(s) on set during filming if possible. It saves time calling them or trying to explain what's needed. Then waiting to see how long it will take them to write a script revision and send it over. Being on set puts a screenwriter in the thick of things on the frontline with the actors and crew too.

A screenwriter on their game won't get rattled if they have to write script revisions right there on set while actors and crew take 10 minutes. Burning an hour or two to handle a script revision wastes time and money an indie film budget cannot afford.

Sometimes the script revision to a scene banged out in the heat of the filmmaking battle is better than the original one that took hours or days to write. Pressure can create a situation where a screenwriter enters the zone and is able to write gold spur of the moment. They're not over thinking. They're creative writer's mind takes over on instinct.

It's like when a professional athlete has an amazing performance and they tell reporters they were in the "zone."

A screenwriter has to be confident and decisive when handling a script revision on set. Time and money are always against you. I say it all the time, but an indie produced film never has enough time or money for even small delays.

Many realistic indie filmmakers already know before one shot goes off they're already in the hole with time and money. Script revisions can happen for all sorts of reasons and at any time during production.

You can lose a location without notice. An actor could not show up or quit. A scene needs to be shortened because you don't have time to shoot it like it was written. The dialogue or blocking isn't working. You get hit with a creative lightning bolt out of the sky that gives you a revelation on how to make the scene in the locked shooting script much better.

Script revisions for a locked shooting script don't always have to be handled when a scene is being filmed. I wanted to share a worst case scenario for a screenwriter. I've been there when actors and crew are on set and everybody knows a script revision has to be done or the scene won't work.

I can always smell time and money burning with each minute. That pushes me to crank out a script revision that will keep cameras rolling. I grab a pen scribble the dialogue or action changes to the scene on my script and give actors and crew 5 or 10 minutes to read the revisions and then we roll.

We don't have a production office on location or are equipped to run copies of my free hand writing. The scribbled on script gets passed around to the actors and key crew that need to know the script revisions. Indie cinema is lean and mean.

Other times you'll have more time to handle script revisions for a locked shooting script. After watching dailies an indie film director might get a vibe and want a couple of script revisions for the next day's shots. This gives you time to relax and hash out script revisions under less stressful conditions.

It's an exciting rush for a screenwriter to be on set watching the dialogue, action and scenes they wrote come to life. Screenwriters don't write film scripts to have them sit in drawers or stay forever stored on hard drives.

They want their work the focus of actors, film crews and later movie viewers. Script revisions for a locked shooting script are creative challenges rough and tumble screenwriters love to experience. It keeps a screenwriter sharp when they have to work under flares of pressure.

It's one thing to have a deadline when you're writing a screenplay in a comfortable environment like your writer's studio, a coffee shop, by the beach or any place you do most of your screenwriting at.

It's another when you're in the heat of the filmmaking moment on set with actors and crew that are looking at you to deliver a script revision under the gun when it's needed.

Most screenwriters love the break from being a solitary writer to being part of an indie film production handling script revisions for a locked shooting script. This is indie filmmaker Sid Kali typing fade out.

Slice Of Americana Films was born in a pub that had a great jukebox, cheap happy hour and free freshly made popcorn. Check out the life and times of filmmaker Sid Kali to get crisp indie film production information on screenwriting, directing, producing, film editing, movie marketing and film distribution learned from the school of hard knocks.

Source: EzineArticles
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