Wednesday, February 11, 2009 Polishing Pilgrim
The read-through for "Pilgrim's Progress" over the weekend went very well and I got some wonderful feedback from those involved. As a result, I'm now making another pass through the script. It's not an exhaustive re-write, but I'm "cleaning up" quite a bit.
My problem, as I've approached this project, has been deciding what kind of story it is. I knew I didn't want to simply reproduce the allegory in different wording. But I didn't want to add so much material that the original work is hidden. I wanted the story to be enjoyable on its own as a fantasy quest, but in pursuit of that end, I weighed down the front of the script with too much world-building and characterization.
My readers felt that the beginning was a little confusing and that in general I could shorten some of the longer lines of dialogue, saying the same thing with fewer words. I was also given a comment on my use of the word "magic" in the script, and was advised to use a different word. Not to avoid offending people, but to avoid the nebulous baggage that comes with a vague word like "magic". The point made was that if I create the name (for magic), I can define the term and my audience can more easily understand the concept, or at least not bring ideas to it that are not meant to be there.
I resisted this idea at first, but have come around to it (partially because I found a cool word for "magic") and am making adjustments to the script. This simple change has also brought a new tone to the story that I really like! (Amazing what changing one little word can do!)
I'm already finding that the script is more focused. It maintains needed character layers to avoid being a straight-up allegory, but also keeps the story moving forward. I'm hoping to have the polished version done by the end of this week, or early next. As soon as it is complete, I will select lines to use in auditions and post a casting call here and elsewhere online.