Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Question #2

Time for another question. 3BrassBrads asked me this question via Done Deal:

I wondered about your "Nice Girls Don't Kill" script -- I was curious if you ever changed what a few (though, if I am correct not your current agent or manger) wanted you to change or if you got even better notes -- or really just, what happen with this from your blog last year?

"It's frustrating as hell. I worked my ass off on this script and I am completely happy with how it turned out, but even though everybody loves my voice and my pacing and the fun action scenes - they all say the same thing about my character's motivations. And it's something I do not want to change."

Did you change the motivations, and if so do you feel that it changed your original story?

I did not make those changes.

The notes you're talking about didn't actually come from either of my reps; they came from other sources. My Manager gives dynamite notes. I'm not just saying that; dude knows what works, and in this instance he was no different.

Sometimes you get notes that call for you to make huge sweeping changes to your story, and you balk. They just feel wrong. You know there's an issue here, but the solution people have provided you goes against every fiber of your being.

I had that kind of feeling with Nice Girls. I kept getting this note to change the lead to the point where it would have been a completely different story, a story I don't want to tell.

Then I got the RIGHT NOTE. The note that addresses that problem, but in a way you've never thought about before.

So no, I didn't need to change the whole story. I just needed to tweak a few moments here and there, and suddenly it all worked.

So the script is very much alive. I can't say what will happen with it at the moment, but I believe in that script and worked my buns off trying to get it right. And in the end, it's great fun - which is exactly what I wanted it to be.

Sometimes when you get one of those notes that makes you cringe, sit with it for a while, think about it, and figure what the person's problem with the scene REALLY is. The note behind the note. Because often, people know something's wrong, but they have the wrong idea about how to fix it. Your job as a writer is to sift through the advice and figure out what works.


  1. Thanks for answering that Emily. For the reasons you stated note giving seems to be a huge part of the equation when landing somewhere. Did you get any notes on your work before signing or did you just trust the chemistry from your meetings?

  2. THE RIGHT NOTE. Good way to put it!

    QUESTION. The difference between accuracy & plagiarism.

    Say, you're writing about say...the WW2 Battle For The Atlantic. The US, British and Canadian effort to protect ships from the U-boats. dialogue aboard the ships; there were situations that occurred - you can't make up things that could not of happened - if you're striving for accuracy. You can't GUESS.

  3. Adam, if I remember correctly, there were a few notes he delivered verbally in the meeting, but all in all it was chemistry in the room that made me sign. I knew right away that this was a perfect partnership.

  4. Paul, of course you can guess! I always try to research something as much as possible so that I can be as accurate as possible when I do guess.


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