Leveling Up

I’d like to make this short and sweet as I just finished my shift and it’s time for me to rest. I made some great improvements to the script last night and feel that it is heading in the right direction.

It’s amazing how easy it is to delete segments of your story after you get some breathing room and realize it is not as perfect as you first thought. I think you make the most progress when you view your product as partially defective and take it back into the shop for repairs.

A lot of highly successful comedies feature an endless onslaught of transitioning meanings. Many scene begin with the anticipation of a character’s actions resulting in something bad that turn into something good. I feel quite certain that the more fluctuation you apply to the events that are unfolding the more intriguing they become. You keep your audience on your feet and your protagonists in a position of uncertainty.

I want every line in my story to add significance. The stakes should continually raise with the threat of danger repeatedly becoming more imminent. The awesome thing about late-stage drafts is that you understand your story more thoroughly and become less concerned with word count. Every dramatic situation you come up with will always have areas of tension, urgency, and conflict. Applying your creative ability to find ways to increase these elements will tighten and escalate your story.

I always like to think in terms of levels when I am doing something creative. As a filmmaker, I find areas of cinema that I feel separate the production quality. You begin by purchasing a camera and audio recording equipment. You get the takes you need, then you edit them into a story. It’s easy to stop there, but learning how to color grade takes you to another level. After that it is tempting to call it a finished production – but learning how to sound mix and improve dialogue with compressors, cross fade, and background noise brings you one level closer to a professional production. After all this is completed you will be tempted to export and publish. But then there are special effects – and often times there are areas in your story that will be more effectively shown with animations (think title sequence at the least, or phone and computer screens, or a burst of blood).

It is the same with writing just as it is with everything else. Each progressive step is not necessarily more difficult, it is simply more laborious to continue applying one improvement after another on a single piece of work. I think of it as “leveling up” because other artists who are working within the same medium are bound to drop off at each of the points I feel are “good enough.” I do believe every story can only be as good as its premise, but even that I am willing to rework if it means the final production will be better. I am never afraid to start from scratch all over again. If I don’t have a good story to tell prior to production, then I do not wish to devote a month or two to telling it.

Now it is time for me to sleep, or as I like to call it, “plot.” I wish you good fortune today in your day’s adventure and hope to have positive news regarding episode 5’s story soon.