Prepare for a metaphor.
Yesterday the toilet seat in my house broke. One of the plastic screws holding the seat onto the base snapped, sheered clean off.
So what did I do?
Well, I could’ve moaned about it or called my landlady and waited three days for her handyman to fix it or replace it with another piece of flimsy white plastic… but I didn’t.
I went to the orange wonder of B&Q and bought a new toilet seat. A brand new wooden one, with lovely golden hinges.
Having unscrewed and removed the old, white plastic seat, I screwed the new toilet seat into place and – BINGO! – I had a new and improved toilet seat. The wood gave the bathroom a little more colour and classiness, and the new seat was a little higher than the previous plastic piece of crap, so when you sit down you feel a little more king-like.
Okay, so why the hell am I talking about this? C’mon ladies, be wowed by my really simple DIY skills! No, seriously, what in the name of cackbadgers does this have to do with writing scripts?
Well, your script is a broken toilet seat.
I just said that.
Your script is a broken toilet seat.
This is what it feels like in the final stages of script rewrites, when it’s a great piece of work and can easily be filmed ‘as is’ and make for a damn decent film. But it’s not perfect.
It’s still functional, but it feels wobbly in one particular place. It doesn’t sit right. It doesn’t stop the entire script from working, but it doesn’t FEEL right. You know it’s wrong. Maybe one thing. Maybe something tiny. Maybe a bunch of tiny things.
So what do you do?
You can either just accept it and get used to it – this happens a lot, with scripts and toilet seats – or do something about it.
Currently I’m working on one of the last (but NOT last!) rewrites of Dearly Beheaded, where we’re looking at the logic checks, the character journeys and trying desperately to weedle out and address any ‘car park moments’.
‘Car park moments’ are those moments when you’ve just left the cinema having enjoyed a film and you reach the car park and think “wait a second… if the entire Earth is flooded with water, why is everyone so freakin’ dirty?” or “wait a second… if the phones aren’t working, how did Kevin order a f*cking pizza?”.
Those moments might not kill a movie, but it WILL affect how people view it. And movies last forever. Or at least until the zombie’s arrive.
So if you have time and can fix it – why not?
Like buying and fixing a toilet seat, it does take time and effort and might involve some surprise shite, but it’s worth doing in the long run. You will feel happy and more comfortable with the script… and so will anyone else who visits your work, unaware it could have been a bit wobbly until you masterfully corrected it.
That’s it. Metaphor over.
If your script feels wobbly somewhere, then goddamn fix it. Take the time, take the effort, wade through the unpleasant and fix it.
Don’t settle for a wobbly seat.
Make it a throne.