Spinning Straw into Gold



Well, that is the hope, intent and desired outcome anyway.

A renegotiation of the original agreement with my now 81-year old screenwriting client; that shrewd, hardcore minor real estate mogul, has resulted in my have carte blanche to rewrite the screenplay. 

I’ll keep the core idea, but will build a different, more engaging story around it. 

But before I can do that, I will need to go over the notes written all over the original screenplay and sort out what was good, what was deemed mediocre, and what was just plain bad. From there I learn and rebuild. As I mentioned in a previous post, the comments by Wendy Kram, Script Consultant, are like a master class in screenwriting. I just need to take them on board and learn. 

I will create more multi-dimensional characters, like I do in my books. I’ll take the story down to its essence and build out from there. Make the dialogue pop, and make sure there’s far less telling and much more showing. (Watch for future blogposts on “show don’t tell”)

My client has expressed an interest in being involved and has told me some of the things he’d like to keep in there, but I think I’ll sit him down and explain that he wants to cram in too much. We can’t save Detroit, build a new industry, go back to include an exciting chapter on WWII Flying Tigers in China, jump forward to 2020, and solve the world tensions by bringing together China and the US all in one 90 minute film. Oh, and somewhere in there have a big ‘ole Motown benefit concert and a tour of the Detroit auto show. All that tends to crowd out room for character development.


The core idea has to come through, and truly movies rarely tackle more than one issue-idea-action at a time. Unless of course you’re going for a 3 hour long production, but rarely, if ever, does a new screenwriter get that opportunity. Cut your teeth on the standard format and if they like you enough you might be able to go wide and step off the beaten path.