First Draft Revision : First Steps Toward Smoothing Bumps

A few days ago you finished the first draft of the latest screenplay. You put it away and now you are ready to look.

The purpose of the rewrite is to clarify your vision, to solve problems and to elevate the quality of the script.

  • Read the entire script aloud
  • Mark bumpy places as you read: just mark them don’t try to fix on the fly
  • Make a list of all the bumps and the current page number/location
  • Don’t make any changes yet.
  • Read the entire script, again, this time silently. Mark any bumps you find on this reading. Mark spelling, grammar and awkward construction.
  • Review your list of places to change (omit spelling, grammar and sentence construction for now). Compare each rough spot to your original outline. Does it still fit? Is it in the right place? Are any beats from the outline missing?
  • Make changes to your identified problem areas so that they aptly fit into the outline. Complete any missing outline beats.
  • Once you have made your structural changes, go through and check for spelling, grammar and sentence construction. Check for descriptive action verbs.

These are the basic first steps to revising the first draft.


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