MA Writing for Script & Screen – Reflective Blog Week 11

So, this was assignment week.

I decided to print out my portfolio and essay and do one last red pen edit before submission. I print and plod off to a local, comfy coffee shop, order a hot chocolate, sit down and set to work. I notice some errors I hadn’t spotted when reading on the computer screen. I make the necessary edits on Celtx (I am a final draft owner but it doesn’t run on my new Chromebook, which I should have checked first before I bought it) and set off back home to print it out. But I’m quietly content that my portfolio: Premise, Treatment, Writer’s Statement and Screenplay is ready to submit.

But now I make the cardinal sin. I have a bright idea of how to improve the dialogue, and start to rewrite the script, shifting dialogue between Act 2 and Act 3 to execute these improvements. But, all of a sudden, I’m in a mess. And guess what, I hadn’t saved the previous draft.

In the words of Scooby Doo’s Shaggy: Yikes!

I check my pdf file of the version I’ve edited, and it seems fine. I go onto Ilovepdf.com to merge the script with the text docs as a single pdf file and think to myself I’d better print again and check, one last time, to be sure (having already repeated the red pen edit umpteen times prior to my coffee shop trip.)

Alas, my printer is out of ink. Oh, I’m sure it’s fine. I’ll read it through on my laptop, just to make sure, and submit. It’s 3am, and I’m twelve hours before the deadline.

Submitted! Phew!

Then, the next day, hours after the deadline passes, I see the option to read your file after it’s been submitted. I read the essay. Fine. Premise, Treatment, Writer’s Statement, all fine. Script…. OMG. I merged a previous version. A version before the final red pen edit. WTF? Must be tired, insomnia, anxiety.

I email my course tutor and exclaim my distress.

“There are extra spaces between dialogue, and some of the dialogue has the wrong character names!!!”

I’m reassured that those issues are not something to stress over too much, but please proof read, especially before submitting a script to a producer.

There’s no point saying I’ve proof read a zillion times, and used up (almost) a whole cartridge of printer ink, if the version I upload has errors. The fact is, I should have gone to the stationers and spent precious money on more ink, rather than on an excess of cappuccinos and hot chocolates.

(Who knew cappuccino has two ‘p’s and two ‘c’s? I know about Coppola’s two ‘p’s. Two ‘p’s or not two ‘p’s – that is the question. I’m easy to p’s. Two peas in a pod. That’s my two p’s worth.)

I’m also advised to let someone else proofread, as our eyes can often overlook simple errors when we’ve been writing and rewriting something over and over again.

Good advice.

I apply for an extension to hopefully iron out the errors in my script, but alas, no go, as I’ve already submitted.

It was worth a try.

As I express my frustration in our cohort’s Whatsapp group one of my fellow students says my whining is like witnessing one of Shakespeare’s tragic heroes breaking down on stage.

The rest, as they say, is silence.

What do you think?

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