Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Rewrite Questionnaire:

95% of feature screenplays submitted to festivals and contests, as well as agencies and managers, fail in three areas: Character, Tension, and Development.

Here are 20 questions that focus on these areas. As you reread your first draft, ask yourself which specific scenes illustrate your answers?

1. Does the resolution dramatize your story’s central idea or theme?

2. Does your ending satisfy the tensions set up in the beginning?

3. Could your story begin earlier or later?

4. How can you incorporate more VISUAL storytelling?

5. What specifically and concretely does the protagonist want?

6. What does the protagonist fear will happen if s/he doesn’t get it?

7. Is your plot driven by your protagonist’s ACTIONS and CHOICES?

8. What does the protagonist need? How do we know?

9. What is the protagonist most afraid of? Where in the story does s/he face it? 

10. What is the protagonist secretly ashamed of?

11. Does the protagonist change? How do we know?

12. Is there a clear ANTAGONIST (person, force, institution)

13. Do the SUPPORTING CHARACTERS have clear wants, needs and fears?

14. Which moments can only happen in THIS story with THESE CHARACTERS? 

15. If you had to tell your story in 60 pages, which scenes would you cut?

16. Where do you NOT feel the main tension of the story?

17. Do the sequences and subplots have their own tensions? What are they?

18. Which scenes have little or no conflict?

19. How can you tell your story with less exposition?

20. Where is the TONE of your script inconsistent?

After thinking about each of these questions, write 1-2 pages about which questions identify the major strengths and weaknesses of your first draft.

For more on how to begin a rewrite, check out How To Begin and This Is What A Rewrite Looks Like.