5 Screenplay Editing Tips That Will Transform Your Story
Think you have the screenplay to the next Oscar winning film? Think again.
If this is the first draft of your screenplay, it could always do with further refining. Daunting as the process might seem, it’s all about the final product. Filmmakers out there are combing through scores of screenplays as you’re reading this right now – so what is it that’s going to set your story apart?
If you stick to the steps given below following the completion of your first draft – you could just be the proud owner of a perfectly completed screenplay!
1) Take a break.
Obviously. In all probability, you’ve been at it with this screenplay for too long now – and you won’t register anything more than blurriness from sleep deprivation!
In order to edit effectively, get away from your work station for as long as you can afford to. When you get back to editing post break, you’ll find that you can now look at your work from a whole new perspective, thereby making the job easier!
2) Don’t get attached to the first draft
I spent my whole life fighting the common phrase ‘Writing is rewriting’. However, post the fifth revision of my blog’s first draft, I am forced to concede.
In all of screenplay writing history, no first draft was ever as good as the last one. Keep yourself open to ideas, revisions and refinements in general. What’s most important is letting the screenplay evolve and develop into something that will keep your audiences engaged, therefore being stubborn is only going to cost you!
3) Focus on your dialogue
Your dialogues are the driving force of the entire story, and cannot afford to be anything less than perfect.
Characters constantly going, “Hey XYZ, how are you this morning?” might look good on paper and fill up the space, but won’t translate to anything more than yawns when it goes on screen. Keep your dialogues crisp, and remove anything unnecessary. A quick and handy tip for spotting the unwanted is identifying whether the dialogue can be represented visually. If yes, then it eliminates the need for it being spoken!
4) Cut, Copy, Rearrange
This step is all about the formatting and structuring of your document. Most studios will refuse to even glance at a script if it doesn’t follow the standard format of a screenplay.
While rearranging the story and adhering to format, you will also be able to identify scenes that don’t contribute to or further your story in any way; giving you a chance to get rid of them! Get rid of everything that’s obvious, is a filler or a distraction from the main plot.
Your final product needs to be a story that progresses organically, remains relevant and flows smoothly to deliver the message effectively.
5) Edit and Proofread
Given the sheer number of writers out there, and the even more extraordinary number of screenplays generated every single day – don’t blow your one shot to make a great impression by neglecting editing and proofreading.
Errors in grammar, spelling or language in general gives the reader the impression that you aren’t serious about your work. If you find it difficult to ensure your document is error-free and perfect, you can always hire an online editing and proofreading service – i.e, PaperTrue!
Most people tend to get incredibly fond of their screenplays, finding it hard to delete things and revise scenes in general. However, it’s all about gritting your teeth and making sure that the final product is flawless!
All the best!
4.5 out of 5 on Google reviews and 4.6 out of 5 on Reviews.co.uk.
I was happy to receive both a tracked and a clean version of the edited document.
I will happily recommend PaperTrue to my friends, and I will myself come back on a later occasion.
Amazing service and a welcoming chat on the website! I love the detailed comments and feedback on the tracked document :) They really did a good job at making my debut novel a lot better while still keeping my style of writing!
Much love from Denmark <3