In last week’s podcast, we discussed the many differences between playwriting and screenwriting. So this week we’re going to be getting deeper into the craft of screenwriting: what it takes to write a script that succeeds on the page.
As we discussed last week, writing a screenplay often takes more rewriting time than writing a play.
And a big reason is that while most of a play exists in dialogue and develops over rehearsals and workshops, successful screenplays must exist in a far more more finished form on the page.
Technically, so much of rewriting for playwrights takes place during production in the rehearsal process. Whereas most of rewriting a screenplay is going to take place before your movie is even sold or greenlit.
And unlike literary managers at theatres, who are often MFA or PhD graduates with a love of literature, degrees in theatre and a deep understanding of how plays funcion on the page, most screenplays are read by coverage readers, or interns, who not only often have no training at all in how to read a screenplay, but at best are probably skimming your work for $50 bucks a script.
Which means that to succeed as a screenwriter, you must do more than create a blueprint for success. You must in fact create a screenplay that fully demonstrates the experience of your movie for even the least trained reader– that transports them from reading to seeing, and plays effortlessly in the little movie screen in their mind, so that they can see, feel and hear everything, just like if they were watching the film.
So that is just something you need to accept; in order to bring your screenplay to that level you are going to need to do more rewrites.