So 24 hours ago I was in a hospital bed having a very long tube with a camera shoved down my throat. As bad experiences in life go, this rates among my top ten. I have a minor stomach problem that the quaks insist on checking every two years, and so every seven hundred and thirty days I brace myself for this awful experience. Thankfully it’s over for now, and as a welcome home present, Judy emailed me the latest draft of the ‘Raft movie’ (formerly called ‘From Beneath Us’, and not called the ‘Raft movie’, but floating between the two and waiting for a new and inspired title).
Funnily enough, the hospital trip and the ‘Raft movie’ have some things in common. Whether it’s within the 1960’s concrete walls of the hospital, or the high rubber walls of the life-raft, I was reminded of how fragile life actually can be. Sitting in a waiting room and pondering on the meaning of it all felt something like what the characters in the ‘Raft movie’ go through too, though of course their story is significantly more exciting and ultimately likely to have more attractive performers, though one of my nurses did look like she was straight out of ER, even had the pouty lips.
And so today, I read my way through draft five, and right now I am waiting for Judy to arrive so we can have our script meeting. It’s a leap forward from Draft 4 for sure, but as anyone who has taken any of my workshops knows, I am convinced that success or failure begins with the script (it’s not finished until the premier)…
And the title spells success or failure too… so ‘The Raft’ is good, but not good enough…
My notes on a script always fall into two broad categories – first are small tweaks, which are mainly about refining and reducing. As screenwriters, we must be committed to saying the most with the least words, and as any writer knows, it’s tough to be meaningful, character rich and brief. So lot’s of ‘drop this sentence’, or ‘these three words from this dialogue’.
My second set of notes are less specific and more over arching about bigger things in the story that I want to work out. This is a much heavier conversation too. And for me it’s very important to not think of the script as somehow ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’, more of a perspective that could be refocused to sharpen the narrative.
Right, Judy is back, and I know she has also blogged about writing the script today, but there is no time for me to read it until after our meeting! Actually I have just discovered that her blog is not live, and she is, erm, redrafting her text! But when it is live it will be here.
NOTE FOR YOUR DIARY - This Friday, Gone Fishing is playing in central London, supporting a Steven Spielberg film! RESULT! Yes, ‘Gone Fishing’ is playing as a support to JAWS on Friday night, and a doc about JAWS on Saturday night. You can get tickets here…
See you there!
Onwards and upwards!
Chris Jones, Film Maker and Author