I was just listening to Jenna Milly of screenwritingu interview screenwriter Vanessa Taylor about Hope Springs, the new romantic comedy starring Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones. It’s a pretty short interview. I like Vanessa’s advice on writing a spec script when you’re starting out and trying to find your unique voice. She says to write something personal, have faith in your own vision, and don’t try to make it a knock-off. She advises to stop worrying about what you imagine should go into a movie to make it commercial, and instead just let your own voice speak and tell the story.
When questioned about rewriting for Hope Springs, Vanessa said she was advised early on to dump more than half of her first 100 pages in order to let her own voice show. So she boldly sat down to edit. She would read until something seemed false, then get to work on the problem.
In my current editing, lots of things are jumping out at me now that I’m approaching the draft with fresh eyes. It took me a while away from the script to see things in a new way. Now when I spot these things, it seems like I argue with myself at first.
Fresh Me: “Hmmm, that’s weird, seems off, awkward, doesn’t make sense.”
Old Me: “Nah, it’s okay. It’s fine.”
Fresh Me: “Really, you think so? Okay. Wait, no. Not okay! It could be better.”
Old Me: “How?”
Fresh Me: “I’ll show you!”
Fresh Me has some really good ideas for punching things up and clarifying the scene descriptions this week. As long as Old Me eases up, I’ll keep making good progress.