Things to look for when editing your script

Congratulations on finishing your first draft! You think you'd be done with your script, but now it's time for editing your script! I can't stress this enough, but you don't want to send your first draft to anyone, especially to producers in the industry. Writing takes time and, unless you have a deadline, you need to make sure your script looks polished before someone else can read your script. When you're going through your next few drafts, make sure the following are complete.

Scenes contain conflict and drive the plot forward

It's extremely important that each scene contains conflict, because without it, the reader will lose interest. Like I've mentioned previously, scenes have to serve a purpose and drive the plot forward. So if you find a scene that doesn't contain conflict, add some!

Get the reader hooked somewhere in the first 10 pages

When a producer looks at your script, they're going to be looking at the first 10 pages of your script, before they can determine if they want to continue reading or throw it in the trash. The first 10 pages of your script are critical because we want to get a sense of who the protagonist is before the inciting incident. So, as you go through the first 10 pages, make sure your audience will be able to get hooked as early as possible.

Make the dialogue unique

Some writers, myself included, struggle with dialogue, and it's important to make sure each character has a different voice. Remember, no two characters should sound the same. Best thing to do is cover the character headings and see if the voices sound similar to each other. If so, rework the dialogue a bit and give each character a different personality or style. Perhaps you could even try my "people watching" exercise to see how people talk to one another.

Check your formatting

Now that you've been working on edits to the story and dialogue, the formatting of the script comes next. Did you format the montage scenes correctly? What about flashbacks? Are there any camera directions/transition shots? (Please say no.)

Once you've completed your checklist, do another look through and see if anything else is missing in your script. Perhaps you might want to extend a scene or make a scene shorter. Whatever the case, keep working on your script and even if you think it's perfect, it never hurts to go through it a few more times before someone else looks at it.

Keep on writing! You got this!

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