The Curse of the Flexible Storyline
So my full read the other night went... okay.
The actors were great, particularly my two leads. Despite a lot of writers being out with the flu (and I'm still battling what has been diagnosed as a bronchial infection), enough people showed up to make the comments afterward (when the writers take turns tearing my script apart) valuable.
The problem with this script is that, though I never intended it to be more than something that could be shot very cheap, there are ideas in there that capture people's imaginations, so much that they want these ideas executed differently.
Without getting into specifics, let me talk about the script in this way: There's a supernatural premise involving the main character, there's a plot twist on this premise along the way, and then there's the big late reveal.
But there are a multitude of ways to execute this script, different takes on the material, and it seemed like there were writers advocating for all of them.
There was the core group who didn't like the big reveal; they'd rather have me stick with the supernatural premise and develop the plot twist in a different direction.
Others like the big reveal, but wish I'd gotten there in different fashion, despite the demands that the big reveal places on the story.
Some wanted me to jump into the story faster, to start off with the big basement scene that in this draft starts off on page 11. Others want me to take more time early on, and develop my main character, and make sure the script was focused on her.
And all the notes are valid, to a certain extent. And ultimately it's all about how I want to tell the story, and the best way to serve the story and characters with the elements I have.
It's also about how many versions I want to do of this script. Because the current version, though it can use some tweaking, works fairly well for what it is.
But now I'm considering doing an alternate version, taking out the big reveal and indeed just playing with the story twist, and how a different ending would really mean a different script, in ways that are probably good but also potentially problematic as well.
So that's what I'm wrestling with now. And I get the irony that this is what I do for a living, giving other people notes that they can chew over like this.
Maybe I'll just make all the characters penguins.