Don’t Give Up On Those Old Scripts
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. Nothing special of course, nothing blockbusting, just writing for the pleasure of it. Lots of it. Some good, some terrible, some mediocre….and all ‘filed away’ for a rainy day.
I say ‘filed away’ but that’s not really the case. Most of it is randomly scattered throughout the house in drawers, cupboards, old cardboard boxes and carrier bags…and underneath beds, sofas, and armchairs…and on top of freezers, TVs, wardrobes…..
So the other day I was sorting out some old papers, stuff I was going to shred, worthless old items and bills and invoices when I spotted something that looked like a script in a bag of old photographs and press clippings. It certainly looked like a screenplay. It was beautifully typed up and had a cover and sure enough there was my name and the title of the screenplay on the cover….and dated 1980……!
Cut to: Ninety minutes later.
I put down the screenplay. Wow, that was actually quite a fair attempt. It had flaws, major plot problems in Act Two, and the main character disappeared from time to time as minor characters drifted into the plot did a few funny gags and then left without any reason, and of course the whole idea was totally out of date thanks to the internet, mobile phones and the joy of Google, but all in all it wasn’t that bad. Definitely a project that could be made to work with a bit of tinkering and duck tape.
So, what I’m saying is this….dig out those old scripts and look at them again, knowing what you now know. There will be flaws, just like mine, obviously, but I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. I’ll bet there are some hidden gems in there too.
Just as a P.S……Two days later I grabbed an old copy of Viki King’s ‘How To Write A Movie in 21 Days’ (a book I love by the way…great fun) and ‘forced’ the old screenplay into her recommended format and it improved it no end. So much so that it’s a project I’m going to add to the ‘To Do’ list for future reference. So, please, don’t give up on those old scripts!