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Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Pull Pages and Mixed Metaphor Special

Pull pages. Probably not a term most Wavers commonly use. Unless you are a reader.

The other day I settled down comfortably on my couch with a script, a fishbowl, a letter opener, a highlighter and pen. Those the tools of my trade. I use the letter opener to pry the stubborn brads out, toss them into the fishbowl where they make a comic display, set the title page aside for summary notes, uncap my highlighter and begin to read and pull pages.

What do I highlight? Names. Dates. Significant relationships. And beats. And as I highlight - I pull pages, in order. I separate some of the cattle from the herd.

I use the highlighter for other reasons too - I use it to mark parts of the script that were problematic (typos, language usage, errors, poor logic or otherwise bad writing). Pull pages become an evidence room.

Pulled, marked up pages are my Rosetta Stone for the notes. And yes, Rouge Wavers, the Wave-inatrix just used three unrelated metaphors in the space of one printed inch. But that's what makes me special. Ahem. Shall we continue? You in the back ready to pipe down?

Right you are. It struck the Wave-inatrix like so: what if you, Rouge Wavers, were to print out your script, settle down comfortably with a highlighter and read each page the way a reader does - quickly - and as you go, highlight points on your page where significant characters are introduced and where turning point action or dialogue takes place? For advanced Rouge Wavers, you can also highlight moments, dialogue (whatever form it takes) in which your theme (the DNA) of your script is present.

Now at the end of the exercise, flip through your script again and pay special attention to the pages which contain highlights - those are the pages a reader would pull, synopsize or otherwise dwell on in assessing the script. Note the page numbers of the pulled pages. How'd you do? Can you cobble together the premise of the script by glancing at the highlighted passages?

Int. Grocery Store - pg 4
Mary Anne THROWS the soup mix - pg 5
BILL LUTZ, tall, handsome - pg 5
"I do" - pg 25
"What's this prescription?!" - pg 50
Int. Divorce Attorney - pg 60
Int. Bar - pg 75

Okay if this is the case, as above, Wavers, we have a problem. Sure, these pulled, highlighted passages tell a story but geez, look at those page numbers! What in the heck can possibly be entertaining between pages 25 and 50?

If you try this exercise, Rouge Wavers, you will find yourself on an archeological dig. There is evidence in every layer of a script - good and bad. Go ahead, give it a try. Just sit, read, highlight and pull turning point pages. Then go through the pile of those pages and have a look at the evidence. How'd you do?

ShowHype: hype it up!

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent advice and suggestion. A great way of getting the big picture on your spec.