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  • Writer's pictureBen Anstruther

Script Development #2

This is just to touch base on where the project is at since my last post.

The script is coming together well. For the first time, I have shared the script with some friends who are totally unfamiliar with the characters, themes, story etc. All of them liked it a lot but still gave me great feedback about how to streamline it even more, one of them felt that it was cramming too much into a 20-page script.

Another pointed out something that had been flagged up previously which is that the revelation of the diary existing was too abrupt. I agreed, so I have added a scene at the start of the script where Nina and Rachel go through the case together. I think this has been a good addition because not only does help to solve that narrative problem, it also adds some more important exposition but not in an obtuse way. It also seemed like a very “coupley” thing for the two of them to do. Slightly annoying because if anything I wanted to truncate the first act of the script as it has always been disproportionately longer than the other two acts.

Chris has also made a suggestion that, despite of the new courtroom scene, there is too little of a dramatic climax. I do like the way the scene between Gordon and Nina plays out following Nina’s realisation that he orchestrated the obfuscation of the diary. It felt more real and raw with her some angry that she was unable to speak. However I also agree that the film can’t end with that, especially with Rachel being introduced at the start and not returning.

Chris prompted me to return to the theme of the film and what I was keen to explore as the writer - which is the effect that single-mindedness can have on people. My idea now is to have Nina take out her anger on Rachel and have the argument orientate towards their differing mindsets. I think this will no doubt result in the relationship coming to an end.

But I’m happy with it right now. The biggest praise I have received from everyone who has read it thus far is that it feels authentic despite the dramatic embellishments. From the outset of this project, I wanted to strike a balance between exactly that. I remember in third year when I received feedback for one of the drafts I wrote for the Miles script was that the writing didn’t lend itself to cinema because it was too overt and “didn’t have enough subtext.” I have always disagreed with that. To me cinematic dialogue is the conversations that play out in your head while you sit on a bus, or in the shower, or any moment when you can reflect. It may be pretentious to say, but I would like to characterise the dialogue in my films as the things that I, or the characters, would have wanted to say in the moment because that to me is cinematic. It’s not necessarily natural but it’s fun and exciting and not beyond the realms of possibility.

Next steps:

  1. Final confrontation between Nina and Rachel to even out act lengths and also have more emphasis on the film’s theme.

2. Iron out all plot details and ensure that all unnecessary and needlessly complicated elements are removed.

3. Make Trevor less deliberately irritating as a character so he’s more dimensional.

4. Consider, wherever appropriate, to incorporate more humour into the dialogue.


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