a pro script reader ponders movies, reading, writing and the occasional personal flashback

Friday, September 01, 2006

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

So I'm reading a screenplay the other day, and I come across this immortal line of dialogue:

He'll me what's on them go.

It's a classic case of not proofreading your screenplay when you send it to someone to read, and it's something of a running complaint of mine, because I get so many scripts to read with dumb, didn't-the-writer-read-through-this? mistakes throughout.

I don't care if it's just a rough draft, that you are sending to a friend to read. There shouldn't be stuff like this in it, that is just plain incoherent.

Unfortunately, the big problem here?

The script was mine.

Last weekend, I was a good boy. I printed out my rough draft of my supernatural thriller, and went through it page by page, reading it through, finding typos, making a few changes, spinning a scene in a new direction here and there.

Then I sat down, and typed up all the changes. And I was happy, because I finally had it to the point where I was ready to send it to friends to read, to see if the rewrite worked.

And I did, immediately, flushed with the success of a finished draft.

But I hadn't taken the time to proofread the changes. And that little brain fart snuck through.

"He'll me what's on them go". Jesus.

That's going on the wall, as a little reminder.

Proofread your scripts thoroughly before you send them out.


At 3:19 PM, Anonymous Anon said...

Same tings haffened go me before, to.

At 4:28 PM, Blogger Brett said...

Sum miss takes awl weighs seam two git threw. Its knot thee inn dove thee whirled.

At 4:46 PM, Blogger wcmartell said...

There's some sort of law that even if you do proof read your script, you won't find at least two mistakes until after you have sent it to somebody important.

Never fails.

- Bill

At 5:05 PM, Blogger shecanfilmit said...

It's really, really hard to proofread your own writing. Journalists and technical writers often have a peer take a pass through a draft to catch this this sort of stuff. I think it's best to turn over an important draft to a wife or mother or sister, or someone else, to do a final proofread. I personally use my sister and my friend Kathleen to catch these type of typos, and pay them with a meal or a six-pack.

At 6:04 PM, Blogger S. A. Petrich said...

And what was Abby supposed to say, if I may ask, Scott? I'm afraid I can't make heads or tails with that sentance.

Although worse things have happened to me... typos so abominable that the very sight of them will make you insane. It especially happens if u no speek no engrish.

At 6:07 PM, Blogger Scott the Reader said...

I'm pretty sure the line was supposed to read "He'll tell me what's on them. Go!"

Sometimes it's trying to get out of my brain faster than I can type.

At 7:09 PM, Blogger Cathy Krasnianski said...

Funny how we always catch the mistakes AFTER the envelopes are sealed.

At 8:43 PM, Anonymous Leif Smart said...

You should use it as a test for the people who are providing feedback for your script. If they don't pick up that mistake...

At 9:40 PM, Blogger Chesher Cat said...

Since you're putting it all out there, Scott, I guess you won't mind me posting this (sorry, I can't resist):

You introduced BILLY for the first time in the living room on page 5.

Then you introduced BILLY again for the first time in his bedroom on page 6.

I made a note that you should delete the first intro because the second is more mysterious.

I'm on page 18 and promise to keep the rest of the incriminating notes private (okay, there's not that many). Haven't found the botched Abby dialogue yet. Is it possible you've been sharing her meds?

BTW, I confess to similar afflictions. Um, that's bad proofreading on my own stuff, not taking meds.

At 10:51 PM, Blogger Systemaddict said...

Would it be fine- had a singer sung them to you?

Just a thought.

At 11:23 PM, Blogger Scott the Reader said...

Cat -- Like Leif said, it's part of the test.


At 6:39 AM, Blogger S. A. Petrich said...

"Sometimes it's trying to get out of my brain faster than I can type."

I know that feeling.

I occasionally omit entire pragraphs because, after I have thought them through *so* thoroughly, my brain feels it's kinda redundant to type them down.

So I keep typing, and than I look back to the page and say "Huh? Where's that Ian's funny retort gone? ...Oh shit, I forgot to write it!"

And the best thing is, I usually forget what I was supposed to type in the first place.

C'est la vie, as they say in Hungary.

At 7:59 AM, Blogger Emily Blake said...

I was head copy editor at my college paper so I saw all kinds of mistakes. My favorite was the time I got an article that had been through the original writer, the section editor, the editor-in-chief, and one copy editor before it got to me. There was a sentence in the article that said "Williams is a lesion to the African-American Students Organization."

That poor woman.

At 6:25 PM, Anonymous Steverino said...

My job is editing other people's stuff, but my postings are filled with mistakes.

If you find less than half a dozen mistakes in a manuscript, you can be sure that someone like me has carefully checked it beforehand.

BTW, Courier sucks.

At 4:52 PM, Blogger Dante Kleinberg said...

I finished draft 3.1 of my novel a year ago, and sent queries to several agents. When I couldn't get it placed, I went through it again to see if I wanted to make any changes but nothing jumped out at me. I sat on it for a while and tried to figure out what to do.

At the urging my current screenwriting partner, I decided to go through it again and send it out to more agents. Last week I found that one of my background characters changed names from Emma to Nora and back again within a single page. And I hadn't caught this before??? Not ever??? What the hell is wrong with me!!!


At 11:32 PM, Anonymous Svend said...

One suggestion that I've seen is to read the piece you're trying to proofread upside-down. It slows you down enough so that your eyes don't skip over words, and helps you see what's actually written, rather than what you expect.

At 10:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Upside down? That's rediculous. Now professional proofreaders often read from the back page to the first page so that they do not get caught up in the story...


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