I can see clearly now

Ahoy! Rewrite dead ahead!

This week’s installment of The Script Adventurer! featured an interview with the multi-talented Heather Hale.  She’s worked as a writer, a director, a producer and as a consultant, so she definitely knows her stuff. (Mark your calendars – the show re-plays Sunday at 7PM on radioslot.com)

I always like to know what key piece of advice a professional or working writer would offer to the rest of us.  A thought or phrase to jot down on an index card and attach to the wallspace in front of your working area.

Heather named two.

1. Clarity is king.

You may know your story inside and out, but if the person reading it can’t follow it or is confused as to what’s going on, then you’ve got a problem.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve got the most brilliant concept ever.  The plot and story have to be clear so anybody can pick up the script and know exactly what’s going on.

It’s up to the writer to make their story as easy to follow and comprehend as possible, or else the reader/audience will get lost in the story, and not in the good way.

2. The reader is never wrong.

You think your script is perfect. The reader knows better. It’s their job to go over it with a fine-tooth comb and look for flaws.  And unless you’ve attacked that script from every conceivable angle, fixing any potential problem you can think of, they will find them.

The reader really does want to like your script, but if you give them any reason to say no, there’s no reason to be bitter about it.  They know what they’re talking about.  Look at this as an opportunity to make your script better or stronger than it was before.

-Movie of the Moment: Three over three days!  It’s been a long time since I’ve done that, and two were actually in theatres. Wow!

THE HUNGER GAMES (2012). I read the book last month, so it was pretty fresh in my mind. I liked it, although it could have been a little shorter. I can appreciate a strong female protagonist, and it’s easy to see why Katniss has caught on.  She’s tough and doesn’t give up.  Congrats to Jennifer Lawrence for doing a solid job in the lead.

I also really enjoyed Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman, the blue-coiffed TV personality with perfect teeth. A great accomplishment in casting.

My only complaint – Katniss doesn’t always drive the action forward. She’s more reactive than active in some scenes.

-THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETY (2010). Another animated gem from Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli, based on the classic books THE BORROWERS.  A recurring theme in a lot of their films is the main character’s coming of age. And this one is no exception. If it weren’t for 3 of the characters being 3 inches tall, this could easily pass as a stage production. Good for all ages.

-RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (2011). Smart and well-written. Easy to see why this was a surprise hit last summer. Especially fun if you’re familiar with the original films. K made an interesting point in that you’re rooting for the apes to win, which would mean the eventual downfall of humanity.  Count me in the camp of those who think Andy Serkis should have gotten some kind of recognition for his mocap work as Caesar.

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