Jenna Avery of Script Magazine has written a helpful article about approaching rewriting with the right mindset — a mindset that is capable of cutting your favorite scenes, even restructuring your entire story, to make your script work.
As I embarked recently on a major rewrite of a feature script, I bumped into a big wall of resistance. While I didn’t think my script was necessarily perfect, I was attached to my story in its then-current form. So even though I was getting feedback about the need for significant structural changes, I was struggling with the idea of letting go of much (okay, anything!) of the story.
I knew my attitude was going to be a major obstacle, so I reached out to some pros for advice about the right mindset when undertaking a rewrite.
Your script owes you nothing
As I was getting started, I asked screenwriting mentor Chris Soth, screenwriter of Firestorm, and author of Million Dollar Screenwriting: The Mini Movie Method, for advice about approaching a rewrite. He said:
“Put yourself into a mind space as if nothing has been written so far and you just had the idea yesterday. Know that your idea, the Universe, and the screenplay owe nothing to you. Arguably, you owe the Universe for the idea the best execution that you can bring to it, and it’s out there in some form, and all you can do is your best to find it. You have to be willing to throw away everything to do that, as if you are hacking away at a block of marble creating Michelangelo’s David.”