After taking notes and implementing them, I expand the circle slightly, taking another round of notes. By this stage, I’m confident that I don’t have any major structural problems but am open to new ideas. But before sending it out, I give the screenplay to someone who proofreads and cleans up the grammar. Because of my dyslexia, it’s not enough for me to just look over it—typos, especially of homonyms, sneak past me.

Asking someone (especially a professional writer) to read my work is filled with potential faux pas, but I figure they can always say no. Or say yes, but never read it.  Once the new notes come in, I take what works and leave the rest, repeating this process several times. Then, when every word is as perfect as I can get it, I have a finished First Draft.

People often liken the writing/rewriting process to having a baby and sending it out into the world. I disagree. Yes, I’ve spent close to a year (or longer) nurturing and feeding and tending to this thing, but if I treat it like my baby, I’ll never be able to change a thing. I’ll take every suggestion personally, offended that others can’t see how perfect my child is, just as it is. It’s easy to do, but doesn’t make my script any better.

I once heard someone (I think it was Spielberg) say that as the author of a piece of work, you are the Captain, the one with your name on the product. So whether the ship floats or sinks, you are responsible. But every good Captain knows that the crew makes the ship and knows how to listen. That’s what I try to do; keep my vision clear and listen.

Everything must be in pursuit of serving the story.

Next week: Audition Stories: The Good, The Bad and The Meh