COVERSCRIPT TIPS – Know What to Cut

Firstly, never fall in love with a character, or a scene, or an action sequence, or a piece of dialog, or any other story element to such an extent that you’re unwilling to rip it out by its roots and bury it in your literary compost heap.

Secondly, never fall in love with a character, or a scene, or an action sequence, or a piece of dialog, or any other story element to such an extent that you’re unwilling to rip it out by its roots and bury it in your literary compost heap.

Thirdly, never fall in love with…  well, I’m sure you’ve gotten the gist.

You can always save that beloved element for another story where it might be an even better fit, and necessary to the story.

Every Single Word in a screenplay should do one of the following five things.

  • Move the main story forward along its through-line revealing new story information to the audience.
  • Show us something new about a character that has relevance to the story and the character.
  • Develop a subplot that is closely related to and enhances the primary story line.
  • Provide the minimal information necessary to the audience’s understanding and/or appreciation of the story.
  • Provide an element of comic relief (rarely).

If the story element doesn’t do one of those five things. . . Don’t Write It.

Or, if it’s already written. . . Cut It.

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