Draft #12: Fat & Darlings
There’s a saying that screenplays are not written, but rewritten. While not entirely true, the rewriting process is what makes a screenplay a screenplay. In the process of writing Rhymes With Wolf, Martin and I wrote and rewrote many drafts. If we counted every minor rewrite and edit, we’d be at draft 50-plus. But we bundled them so the numbers are less staggering (who needs that kind of draft count?). What we did do, however, with precision is tackle the later rewrites with very specific goals. Instead of a general read and general revisions. We focused on particular aspects of the story and screenplay.
In rewrite #12, we only reviewed the “fat” and the “darlings.” With hatchet-man brutality, we reviewed every scene, every bit of dialog, every exchange, character and character appearance, description, location, an asked ourselves the following question: “would we weaken the story if we lost this?” if the answer was no, we’d cut. Regardless of how much we loved a particular exchange, or scene. If there were small elements that were still needed for the story, we’d simply find a way of keeping them by incorporating them into their sections or combining them with other scenes. We cut about 12 pages. And the script became stronger for it. Leaner, clearer, you know the old less-is-more thing.