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On Writing Biopics
by the Hollywood Guru

You've written your script and received notes from a professional in the movie industry. Now comes the toughest part of all ... the rewrite. It's one thing to write an original script based on your own idea, but it's an entirely different animal when you're doing a rewrite based on someone else's notes. If you can't rewrite your material from notes, you'll have a tough time in this business. That's because whatever you sell, you'll most likely have to rewrite it. So how do you handle it? First of all, if you have the time, immediately read over the notes rather than sit on them for a week or two. This will allow the creative process to do its thing. It will offer you so many more choices than if you rush.

If you're basing your rewrite on notes from a story analyst that you paid for, you will probably pick and chose what you think is right about the notes and rewrite that way. If you're getting notes from a producer who has optioned your script, you are basically a hired hand and should incorporate all the notes into the rewrite. If you disagree with some or all of them, argue your best case, but in the end, be amenable to what the producer wants, not what you want. Unfortunately, the screenwriter is the low man (and woman) on the totem pole in Hollywood. If you stick to your guns too much, you'll be off the project faster than you can say, "These notes suck."


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