Preparation for a script editing day is key on both sides: the script editor must have read your script thoroughly, collated and organised their thoughts on it, prepped questions and queries for you, and generally be highly familiar with the material.
But the same goes for you.
Script editing sessions aren't automated, sit-back-and-relax lectures for the writer, who must be just as prepared as the SE.
With all the various terms floating around in script development (script consultant, story analyst, script doctoring, script editing etc. etc.) the true meaning of certain words can become blurred.
So here is a breakdown of what script editors do - and don't do - during a script editing day...
What script editors do...
- offer a professional sounding board for you to bounce ideas off
- deliver their feedback or verdict on your script
- brainstorm in the moment with you
- answer all and any queries or concerns you have about the project
- generally provide a resource for you to improve the script moving forward in any way that he/she - and you - see fit
What script editors don't do...
- basically re-write the script for you (this is called script doctoring)
- generate idea after original idea and (again) basically solve all the script's issues for you (this is available through this process)
- deliver a 7hr seminar or lecture in which the writer is a passive sponge
- give you very specific business or market-advice/strategy
- generally speaking: do the job of the writer, which is to create, to innovate, to invent, to imagine
As you can see, there are certainly subtle difference in what a script editing session entails...and doesn't entail.
And both parties need to come to the table very well prepared for a session to really take flight.
So as the writer of the project it might help your prep to prepare the following in advance of the session:
- 20 questions or queries relating to the script, that you'd like the editor's opinion on
- a clear idea of 3 key areas where you think the project is strong
- a clear idea of 3 key areas where you think the project is weak
- a clearly defined recollection of why you first wanted to develop this project, what first got you excited about it
- a clear idea of your priority themes for the project. What are you really trying to say, here? If the script has various thematic concerns, what are the top priority ones?
- a list of 5-10 comparable film/TV influences for the project (be they tonal influences, thematic influences, or otherwise)
- a list of pure plot/detail questions, if appropriate, to try and get a gauge on how much of what is crystal clear to you, as the writer, is also transferring across to the reader (execs and agents often skim read scripts, or read in a really fragmented way, so ensuring your script conveys effectively is incredibly important)
- absolutely anything else that you'd like feedback/help on relating to your script