Writing is rewriting. I’ve seen that statement and many variations on it so many times, and it’s true. Rewriting is when you get to show off your craft. But it’s also when you must start asking yourself tough questions, make sometimes painful edits, and learn to look at your work objectively.

Zachary Rowell, winner of SoCreate’s “So, Write Your Bills Away” Sweepstakes, is deep into rewriting this week. Luckily, he picked up some tips to make the process more enjoyable and fruitful during a recent outing. He explains below.

Zachary has just two weeks left to complete his challenge: write a feature-length screenplay in three months. In exchange, we agreed to pay his bills so he could focus all his energy on writing. We wanted to give one screenwriter the jumpstart they needed to get their head in the game, and Zachary is doing an amazing job so far. He’s met every deadline, just one more BIG one to go!

If you haven’t been following until now, you can learn so much from Zachary’s process by watching his weekly vlogs from day one. He’s going through a lot of the same things other writers do, and something is encouraging about watching him get through it. Watch every vlog on our YouTube channel, and get in on the conversation by joining our new Facebook Group – Screenwriting for Everyone.

Happy writing and happy holidays!

Transcript:

“Ok, so we are back for another weekly vlog. So, I told you last week that I finished the first draft of the script. So, this past week, we’re rewriting now. So, what I did, I’ll let you know the process, I guess. I’ll put the keys down so you’re just not hearing this throughout the entire video, which I would do. I like to fidget, play with things.

So, yeah. What I did, is I sat down, and I read through the script, making no changes along the way and resisting the urge to make little dialogue changes and all that. I read through the script and then while it was fresh in my mind, I wrote down the things that either didn’t forward the story or the plot; obvious things that I thought could be approved, improved, speaking being one of them; the connection between the characters; looking for weak characters; do they not have enough story themselves? Are they just tools in this game?

Basically, I thought about what I wanted the movie to be, and then I looked at what wasn’t helping it get to that goal, or what might be confusing, or just thinking about it as someone just viewing it, who had no connection to it. How would I feel coming out of that movie after just watching it? What questions would I have? What might not make sense?

It’s interesting. I got excited there! A few days, or maybe the day of, that I started rewriting, I went to a test screening for a movie that I can’t mention because they make you sign an NDA. Is that what it’s called? I think. I’m not sure how serious they are, but just in case, I won’t mention what movie it was. But I got to be involved in a – what do you call it – not a survey, not a Q&A, I don’t know. It’s where they bring like 20 people, and they ask them their thoughts on, it’s a thing. It’s in my mind somewhere. Anyways, they had a moderator there who would ask these people, and me included, what did you like most about the movie? Did you find any parts confusing? Do you have any lingering questions? Which character relationships did you find the weakest? And all sorts of questions like that. And listing to other people’s responses, you know, the audience is smarter than you think. And sometimes they’re looking at things you probably didn’t even think about.

It was interesting to see how other people reacted to the movie. In fact, I would love a movie experience that had that after all the time. Like, you go to a movie, and then you talk about it with other audience members. I really enjoyed that process. I would do it again and again.

So, yeah. I read through my script, I jotted down all the things that needed to be changed, and characters that need to be improved, and I started the rewrite, officially. I’ve already changed one or two scenes. I’m going to do more in the coming weeks.

Right now, we’re having an early Christmas celebration with my girlfriend’s family, so not much happened today in the writing department, but I did get a lot of cool gifts, so that was nice. My girlfriend actually gave me a year subscription to Masterclass, so now I can watch Ron Howard’s class and all the greats, so that will be fun.

Uh, yeah. I think that will do it for this week. Next week, I will be back at home, and I will attempt to do another screen cap, screen recording video, of myself rewriting a scene, hopefully. No promises, but that is what I’ll try to do. So, see you next week.” – Screenwriter Zachary Rowell, Winner of SoCreate’s “So, Write Your Bills Away” Sweepstakes