Monday, August 22, 2011

Workshopping the "Citizen" Script

An exciting thing that happened these last months was a writing workshop I held in early July, bringing together my co-writers Mark McKeown, Caroline Chang and myself for a three-day-weekend meeting here at the Reflektiv base in Los Angeles.

Based on extensive, ongoing research and a detailed treatment, I wrote a first draft of the The Assassination of a Citizen screenplay in the fall of 2010. Mark and Caroline took that and did their very own rewrites, each focusing on issues and notes we discussed before.

This was the first time I had worked this way and it was an experiment. And it was an incredible success. I took the wealth of ideas the three of us gathered over the months and compiled and merged it into our third overall draft, which at that point had been edited from 175 down to 125 pages.

Then on July 7th Mark flew in from Kansas City and Caroline took some time off from her training for a marathon so we could lock ourselves in for three days. I had collected a number of notes and ideas over the months that needed addressing and I felt it was time we dissected what we had created so far and made some essential decisions about various elements of our story like character development, character consolidation, conflicts and their resolution (or not) and things like the necessity of our protagonist’s pregnant girlfriend.


The Den of Ideas


I don’t think I have ever had discussions and arguments as fierce and exhausting, constructive and exhilarating as over the course of these three days in July. Three different minds chewing on a specific issue for hours trying to find a solution – sometimes a compromise – does something weird with your mind. And then, when you least expect it, when you’ve basically moved on to the next topic, you encounter these moments when you’re handed a present in the shape of a genius twist for a scene or a simple new character trait that perfectly rounds up his or her personality. 

Workshopping this script we were not only able to find solutions to most of our questions and concerns but we came up with some truly original ideas that will shape our story. Mark and Caroline are currently working on drafts implementing our results and I will give it another pass of my own during September bringing together the best material of all our drafts.

Thanks you two, it’s been a pleasure.

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