This is the second in a series of post by clients who have used my script coverage service. This is an insightful look at the process by writer Martin McLoughlin. Take it away Martin…
I am not sure why I wanted to write scripts; it was probably a foolish ego thing that first kicked it off. I started writing scripts about 10yrs ago as I remember seeing a Sci-Fi film and saying to myself ‘that was rubbish, I bet I could do better’ and so it began.
I started off by reading about film structure,which I found fascinating and from then on I was hooked. I stress it’s a passionate hobby for me as I know I’m not talented enough to ever make a living from it. That said though, I am competitive and so my goal is to produce something that is good enough to be entered into a Sci-Fi script competition.
Sci-Fi Script competition
I have written 4 Sci-Fi films to date (all based around a Black Hole setting – yes I really like Black Holes). The first 3 were all horribly rubbishand the latest one (called Ergosphere), I think, is better than Star Wars. However, so far I am the only one who believes this and that’s why it’s so important to get someone like Mat to ‘mark your script homework’.
This was essential for me as I started off by being objective about my writing. However, when you get consumed by something, you can end up becoming highly subjective and force fitting to yourself that something is good (when it’s so not).
This is where super script doctor Mat comes to the rescue. As a script doctor, he gives you the real-world objectivity and the right path you need to follow, as opposed to the wrong path you want to follow. He knows his stuff and I have used other script doctors and wish I had come across him first.
You need to be prepared for tons of re-writes; Mat told me that Black Hawk Down took about 80 drafts. I couldn’t get my head around about how someone could re-read a script 80 times and make changes to it 80 separate times.
I do now though – I have done over 30 drafts of Ergosphere. It never ceases to amaze me that each time I re-read my script I see new obvious changes. I have stopped asking myself ‘why didn’t you see that last time’ and the wife now refuses to read anymore drafts.
Reworking and fine tuning
I personally really enjoy the hunger perfection of constantly re-working and fine tuning a script to make it better. As a writer, I’m sure you will have a knowing smile reading this (note: I do not call myself a writer yet as I’m still very much work in progress).
So, in summary, make sure you are prepared for a crazy number of re-writes and always take on board Mat’s ace advice and of course, never ever give up –how else are you gonna write a script better than Collateral?