Friday, 19 April 2013

Writing Assignment Tracker VI

In the contract, the client gave themselves eight weeks to come back with comments on my First Draft.  They only took three, in the end.  Here’s the updated grid. 

Step

Name

Duration
Sched / Actual

Delivery Date
Sched / Actual

+/- Schedule

1.

First Draft Treatment

1 month

15/11/12

 

Initial Step Outline

2 weeks

26/10/12

 

Initial Step Outline client comments

4 days

30/10/12

 

First Draft Treatment

2 weeks

16/11/12

-1 Day

2.

First Draft Treatment client comments

3 weeks

06/12/12

 

Client comments

2.5 weeks

03/12/12

+3 Days

3.

Second Draft Treatment

10 days

16/12/12

 

Writer response (not treatment)

2.5 weeks

20/12/12

-4 Days

Client comments

3 weeks

06/01/13

 

Second Draft Treatment

10 days

17/01/13

-1 Month

4.

Second Draft Treatment client comments

4 weeks

13/01/13

 

Client comments

21/01/13

-1 Week

5.

First Draft

12 weeks

07/04/13

 

9 weeks

22/03/13

+2 Weeks

6.

First Draft client comments

8 weeks

02/06/13

 

3 weeks

11/04/13

+7 Weeks

7.

Revised First Draft

4 weeks

30/06/13

 

8.

Revised First Draft client comments

2 weeks

14/07/13

 

9.

Second Draft

4 weeks

11/08/13

 

11.

Second Draft First Set

6 weeks

22/09/13

 

12.

Second Draft Second Set

6 weeks

03/11/13

 

We’re now so far ahead of schedule it’s like Chris Hoy leading out the keirin.  But we will doubtless be clawed back into the chasing pack. 

The notes feedback process went as follows:

-          An email at the beginning of last week saying generally thumbs up, but we want to take a closer look at the beats of the protagonist’s character journey.  Reasonably encouraging.

-          Then we had a phone call last Thursday, where this subject and a few other bits and pieces were tossed about.  It basically involved me presenting a detailed telling of how I saw the heroine’s back story, and a discussion how much of that still needed to be brought to bear in the present action of the film.

-          Then I wrote up some notes (I quite like the idea of the writer giving notes to himself) which proposed some practical answers to these questions, and also introduced a slightly bigger structural shift, which would help to clear out the first act and concentrate matters on our heroine’s emotional stakes more clearly up front.

-          These notes were generally well received.  There has been some email back and forth this week, we have another conversation scheduled for this afternoon and then, all being well, I’ll start work on the polish next week.  All fairly painless.

The one other area to talk about is what this step is called.  Technically, it’s a first draft polish, not a second draft or even a rewrite.  I wonder if that limits, or should limit, then amount or the level of work that is expected out of this latest opening up of the script.  I don’t think it should, and if I see something that isn’t working then of course I’ll rewrite until it’s as good as it can be.  But in that case, why call one step a draft, one a rewrite, one a polish?  And why have different time frames and fee levels for the various steps?

Just another of the puzzling contractual oddities that this business throws up.  I still think it’s more honest to say ‘Pay me X and you own my writerly ass until Y’ and off we go.  Then no need for charts like this, or hard-to-fathom step payments.  But, then again, maybe ‘honest’ isn’t a word with a whole lot of mileage when it comes to business contracts.

I’m not complaining, of course.  Just looking forward to getting going on this new draft.  Or rewrite.  Or polish.  Or whatever.

Final final point – now that the first draft is complete, I do find my head entering a different space with regards to the script.  It’s a bit like a new relationship.  We’ve, you know, done it, and it was fun and everything.  But now the real work begins.  (And, tart that I am, I now start looking for my next bedfellow...)

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