Ask A Friend to Read it to You

Incredibly useful technique.
Do this repeatedly as you do draft after draft.
Obviously, much easier to ask this with a short script than a feature.

But, if you have a friend THAT good, give it a try with your feature or pilot.

Sit with your friend, a hard copy of the script, and your laptop. Ask them to read scene #1. When the are finished, ask them what happened in the scene. Do not prompt them. Just ask them what happened in the scene.

Write it down.

This is what they got from the scene, not what you hoped they’d get or what you think the scene is about, but what they, the reader who is only able to deal with what is there, think the scene is about.

You can ask questions, but they have to be non-leading questions, bland questions, that will in no way color their read of scene #2.

Then, they read scene #2 and tell you what they think happens in scene #2.

Etc.

If you can keep your fingers out of the pie, you will learn a lot. But it’s very tough to do, because you’re going to want to fight their misperception of your fantastic scene.

Whatever they think the scene is about, that perception is coming from what’s on the page, not straight from your fabulous brain. What you think the scene is about is not necessarily what is actually on the page.

A harsh reality, but this is a relatively (since it’s a friend) non-brutal way to find out that what you thought happened in the scene is not really on the page.

Now, do it with another friend and another friend.

Figure out where your idea of what the scene was supposed to be about got short-circuited.

And now rewrite!

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1 Comment

Filed under Good Writing, Rewriting, Scenes, Screenwriting

One response to “Ask A Friend to Read it to You

  1. Josh

    Great Post! I noticed towards end of your book you talked about how to get an agent as a writer and the difficulties behind it. I’m still incredibly young and don’t know much but it seems like the best way to get an agent these days is to do shorts online, or a short film. Whats your take on this?
    Thank You Sir!

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