I've done six script rewrites in the past two and half weeks. Because we are shooting in one take, there will be no room to make changes in the editing room. I've got one chance to get it right. Our producer table read two weeks ago timed out at 67 minutes, which was terrifying. I did some math on my 88 pages, figuring out exactly which halves of the three acts were light, and added 20 pages in my first rewrite. I had one day to do this rewrite because I'm so busy finding a location and actors.
What's funny is that this script - garnering all this nice attention and momentum - is a first draft written in one weekend. So up until this first table read, I had never actually read the script I wrote.
The next few rewrites I did were for pacing and character arcs. Not every moment needs to be incessant dialog. I've also rewritten the script to accommodate our location and better fit the actors we've signed on. During each of the auditions I listened to how the lines match each actor's personality, and fine tuned accordingly.
For Valerie, I entirely threw out most of her scenes and wrote brand new ones that I think work better. For Gary, I nearly doubled his number of scenes because I think his character is one of the bright spots in the story.
As a writer, I crave feedback and script notes. It's interesting to see where good notes come from. My manager and agents did not offer any notes on the script. Meanwhile, our film editor, Jay Trautman, gave me extremely useful and specific notes.
For this last rewrite, I read all 108 pages out loud with my stopwatch, and timed in at 76 minutes. This is somewhat unsettling, but Chuck (our cinematographer) insists the pacing on set will add a lot of time to the script. Chuck seems confident and I have no choice at this point but to go with his gut. He has much more experience than I do.
On a personal note, I can't wait to mentally switch from playing the introverted writer to playing the extroverted director. The first actor table read is July 2nd. By that day I need to switch hats, analyzing and interpreting the script as if it was written by someone else. This is the process that feels natural to me.