Thursday, March 13, 2008

Riding The Pony

On a recurring drama series, here's a typical exchange between a writer and script editor.

Writer: Yeah got the notes.

Script Ed: Great, can we have the draft like...yesterday?

Writer: No probs. Just a couple of points.

Script Ed: Fire away.

Writer: I'm not sure the suggestions for the B story are going to work. There's no motivation for the character to take that action, and it actually makes the whole strand seem a bit pony. [for non English readers - Pony and Trap - crap] I think it would be better if we came in on X doing Y and shift the emphasis to the Z character. This keeps the story arc but gives it a believable premise and doesn't change the character archetypes.

Script Ed: Mmmmmm. I see your point. Let me have a word with the producer and get back to you.

Cut To:

Five mintes later.

Script Ed: Sorry, had a go but the producer wants it as per notes.

What do you do? You ride the pony. The note might suck farts from swans, but you did your bit. Now comes the hard job. Trying to get a story that you think is a load of twaddle to work.

There can be any number of reasons why you are given notes that seem to make your episode worse and despite your best reasoning, aren't changed. Logistics, ignorance, power trips and factors relating to longer term arcs or production issues of which you are unaware and not likely to be made aware of.

When it happens, there's no point spitting the dummy out. Take a deep breath, roll up the sleeves and bend over.


Jaded and Cynical said...

It's that level of honesty that makes this just about the best screenwriting blog in the UK.

Keep riding that pony, ED.

Uncle said...

I never let anyone change my scripts,but I admit it probably does help that I am a multi-millionaire and that I own all the theatres, cinemas and the Homeward Broadcasting Corporation.

Yours Faithfully


English Dave said...

Thank you Jaded, kind words.

Uncle - You're John Yorke c'mon, admit it!