Summary: No matter how good you think you are, there is always room to grow.
I am currently in the process of preparing log lines and 1-pagers for a friend (different from the one I mentioned in the Damien Rice post). For those who don’t know: Log lines are single-sentence hooks whose sole aim is to get the reader interested enough in the project to look further, whether that be at the 1-pager or at the entire script. 1-pagers are broad summaries of the script- kind of like Spark Notes.
I was eager to get this material to him and so sent it off as soon as he asked for it. The reply was pleasant, but his review of my work was far from stellar.
Although the content of my material was vaguely interesting, it was wrought with plot holes and phrased in a way that was clunky, even underwhelming. I had “edited” the work beforehand, giving it a quick read over and little more. Obviously, the corrections I made were far from perfect.
Upon receiving my friend’s critique, I hit the drawing board again and passed the work to my editor. She pointed out the plot holes and grammatical errors in the work. My friend also gave me notes on how to jazz up that same work so as to make it more compelling. Mind you: I’ve been writing for some time now, yet this instance reminded me once again that a writer can often be too close to his or her own work to note the change that need to be made in it.
That is where an editor comes in. This person does not have to be a professional (although professionals are always good to know). A close friend giving honest feedback can work wonders as well. The less sugar-coating the better. After all, as you make your way up the ladder, the criticism only becomes more cutting and concise.
It is important to remember, when receiving feedback, that the suggestions made are given not with the intent of tearing you down, but building the project up. There are way too many scripts floating around out there. If you want yours to be one of the ones to get picked up out of the proverbial sludge pile, it’s got to be more than good- it’s got to be fantastic!
At the same time, don’t forget that this is your baby. If you feel that some of the suggestions made take the work in a direction you don’t want it to go, feel free to humbly say so, and be prepared to explain why in greater detail than “because I said so.” I find, during the creative process, that healthy dialogue often leads to even better projects than good-sounding monologues do.
Remember: you have good ideas too. So, believe in yourself; keep an open ear; and go write that killer script!
Blessings to you in Christ,