Recently I’ve decided to try something new with The Inhabitors – a scene by scene breakdown. It was terribly time-consuming and difficult, but I’m very happy with the results.
In a lot of screenwriting books one of the main pieces of advice is to make sure that every scene in your script pushes the story forward in some way. It could add depth to a character or relationship, reveal something, or push the plot forward, but each scene should have a purpose. I decided to re-read The Inhabitors scene by scene and write out exactly what each scene was trying to accomplish.
This was more difficult than it sounds. I found myself describing scenes some of the time, which isn’t the purpose. Describing what’s happening in a scene doesn’t do anything but tell you what you already know. I had to think more deeply about each scene and understand exactly what it was trying to say within the context of the whole story.
What this allowed me to do was identify areas of the screenplay that either weren’t working or needed elaboration. It also led to a lot of brainstorming and new ideas to tighten up and add depth to the characters and story. There were a lot of things I originally wanted to include in The Inhabitors – ideas, characters beats – but for one reason or another didn’t. As I was painstakingly going through the script, writing out what each scene was trying to convey to the audience, I was able to identify areas where those ideas would fit.
What this amounted to was a substantial rewrite and close to 5,000 new words for the story. I’m very happy with the result and think I’m going to do this for my other projects, as well, when I think I’ve reached a draft I’m happy with.
So now that I have a new draft I’ve reached out to the Twilight Zone loving manager to see if he’s interested in reading, and I’ve also reached out to the managers I’ve yet to hear back from to offer the revision. I don’t know if this is a good idea or not. For one, they might think I wasn’t sending them my best work the first time and write me off. That is understandable and a risk. But it’s also kind of true. I thought it was my best work until I spoke with the Twilight Zone manager and did the scene by scene breakdown.
But, in order to justify why I did the revision to begin with, I also mentioned it was because of the notes I got from another manager. What I’m hoping this does is get the manager’s I have yet to speak with to say, “Someone else is interested in him, I should really get on this.” What it might end up doing is make them say, “If he’s already talking to another manager, why is he bothering me? This guy is shady and stupid and I don’t ever want to work with him.”
Again, they’re risks. Hopefully the managers are open to reading a revision and don’t take what I’ve said in a negative way. I’m really just trying to write the best story I can using whatever criticisms I get. There is an element of politics to it, sure, but I’m not actively trying to play politics. I hope that gets through.
Now it’s back to waiting and off to work on a scene by scene breakdown of Peripheral.