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07/19/2006 - LEARNING BY DOING PART IV
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How do you know what to cut? Sometimes you can spot it yourself. Other times you'll need to rely on the help of someone you can trust. If you're lucky you can show your first draft to maybe 1 person. Kurt Vonnegut says that every writer writers for an audience of one. Our spouses, a sister or brother, a best friend.

So look for that one person who won't like your script too much or hate it too much. If you're really lucky you'll have two or three people you can show your first drafts to. You want people who genuinely want to help you. And who, again, won't bullshit you.

If you don't mind hearing the truth it can often be brutal. Especially when all 3 people say that the wacky comedy you wrote isn't very funny. Or the psychological thriller you're so excited about isn't particularly thrilling or psychological and reminds them of at least five other movies.

When you have that one person or two or three, be prepared to listen to them. It's good to be confident about your work and to be defensive, but don't be stubborn. Listen to what an old teacher of mine used to call "the click." Which means that when someone says something that makes sense to you instantly, use it.

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Get your script read and evaluated by the same folks who read for the agencies and studios. Discover what's right and wrong with your script and how to improve it.

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