Or: how our script went from being ‘quite good’ to ‘worth filming’. Chris and I had developed his idea, fleshed out the structure, embarked on multiple re-writes before finally producing Drone Strike (or Distant Reaper as it was called then) to a state where we were pretty happy with it.
We showed it to various respected friends for feedback, who were all positive, constructively suggesting tweaks here and there. But we still had the nagging worry that it needed more. It needed to be scrutinised, poked and prodded by the scalpel-edged hand of a script consultant.
You might have seen their credits on films. They’re not generally part of the core team, they’re normally guns for hire. But their value lies in their detachment from a project. We’d lived and breathed the story, so we found it hard to be objective. Noelia’s online research led us to Kira-Anne Pelican (www.filmscribe.co.uk). For a moderate fee, she agreed to take our precious script and give it a duffing up for us. After she’d had it for a day, she got in touch, and suggested we meet at a cafe…neutral territory, very clever.
Over coffee, we got what we had asked for. Kira’s polite delivery masked the furnace blast of her critique. We were glad there were two of us there, because one could recover for a while as the other took the heat. While she liked the script in general, there was no hiding from any ill thought-out lines or shortcuts. The holes were exposed and we were forced to bear witness. Looking at it via that favoured method of Hollywood scriptwriting The Hero’s Journey, we reached The Lowest Point – and then she suddenly switched roles, and became an expert facilitator. She helped us put the pieces back together in a new order, so that by the time we left, we felt newly invigorated. We couldn’t wait to get back to start making the changes – we were the Returning Heroes.