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When is a script developed enough so as to take the next step?

I'm sure that this question will evoke many subjective answers and I'm sure that there isn't any singularly correct answer.

And your answer should also bear in mind that a scripts ultimate evolution never really ends till after picture lock, distribution and exhibition. It's always being tinkered with but a number of stakeholders, even if the director approves the final cut.

So, with that in mind and removed from your thoughts and potential answer, when do you stop work on the script and move further forward in development or prep?

Also, I appreciate the answer may vary depending on your role in the project. For example, a writer working with a director or producer may stay with the script's development a lot longer than the director or producer...


  • Hi Lee, good question. I think it's when all parties are happy with the script (writer, director & producer). I tinker with my scripts constantly but that's just from a writing perspective, once producers and directors come on board of course they're going to have opinions and perhaps request changes/rewrites. I did once spend time rewriting a script between principles and reshoots because the main actor was unavailable. So it kind of never ends.

    With my next project, I'm also a producer so have also been budgeting, but when I was writing the script, it was all about getting the story right.

    Though I agree that the script is finished when you're watching the finished film.

    2 weeks ago
  • I think the question has a faulty premise. The “next step” - whatever that may be - has nothing to do with the state of the script. Many films go into production before a single word of a script has been written. Many more completed scripts never see the light of day.

    There’s no evidence to support the idea that you need a script before you start making a movie. You need a script by the time you finish making a movie, but the mere existence of a script does not a movie make.

    So if “the next step” is important to you, then take that next step right now. You’ll have plenty of time to keep working on the script. You can even keep writing after it’s finished shooting.

    Perfect is the enemy of good. As the saying goes, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today.

    2 weeks ago