Round 2: The Pains of Cutting…
By Aaron Walker Sr.
Though we were able to reduce a grotesquely overwritten script from 117 pages to 90 in the first advanced class, there was still work to be done in the realm of overall story structure. I believe one of the most difficult creative writing skills to master is the ability to know what to put in, and what to leave out of the story. We tend to want to cram all of the ideas floating in our head onto the paper, but in doing so the story as a whole has the potential to suffer.
In the second advanced writing class we continued cutting and refining. But cutting was the hardest part. As writers, I think we all tend to grow attached to the scenes we write. When inevitably tasked with revising or removing one or more of those beloved scenes, we feel like we’re removing a part of ourselves. That’s what happened when I had to remove an entire scene that I was absolutely certain needed to remain. But it pays to listen to those who have more experience than ourselves.
One of the lessons I learned from that class was that timing is everything when it comes to the placement of scenes. While there was nothing wrong with the scene itself, the timing was off as to when the scene was introduced. As a result, we ended up moving the scene out of the pilot altogether, and later introduced the scene as the teaser of episode two. Looking back, it was the right call. My advice? Be smart enough to know that you don’t know everything, and be open for change!
Next week: The Problem that Nearly Derailed the Entire Project!