killing your babies

There's a grotesquely descriptive phrase writers use when talking about the rewriting process: "You have to know when to kill your babies." Mercifully, they're not talking about actual infanticide... though if the "baby" in question happens to be someone who's throwing temper tantrums around the office, then they may be using the phrase literally rather than figuratively... ;-)

In most cases, however, writers are speaking figuratively. And what they mean is that you have to know when to slightly edit, severely re-do, or completely delete your favorite [fill in the blank].

Today, after our notes meeting with the network, I had to kill a baby.

We all knew ahead of time that there were still some issues with that pesky opening scene (yes, the one I was CERTAIN was brilliant just the other day), and so last night I came up with a brand new idea. This morning, I pitched it to Billy and Lee. Since they loved it, we pitched it to the network executives during our meeting. And they loved it too! Great!! But... with the new opening scene, there was nothing else to do but completely delete the other opening scene, which had certain details that been around in some form or other for several drafts. Bye bye baby...

I have to say, though, this new idea is much better. It's simpler, an easier way into the story, and it works a lot better on a lot of levels. So killing it didn't feel so painful. Here's hoping I don't have to kill it again. But if I do, I'm sure something even better will emerge...

On a semi-related note, I'm happy to report that as a result of our notes meeting with the network, I also got to resurrect a baby!

It wasn't my baby... it was actually Lee's baby. There were two jokes in particular that she LOVED... but for our last draft we had to cut them because they just didn't fit. One seems to be gone forever (or at least for the pilot) in babies-that-we-loved-but-had-to-kill heaven. But I think she'll be more than pleased to find, when she reads tonight's new draft, that her other favorite has made it back in. Hooray!!!

I must say, this whole process of killing things, bringing in new things, bringing back old things, etc. is all making our script so much better... and we're getting closer and closer to the final version, which is a good thing, considering we're barely a week and a half away from shooting. ;-)

I can't wait!


Anonymous jessica donnheimer said...

i only read blogs at 7:37pm

7:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good blog today but I still don't see that you've written a key part in Rules for your Dad

1:36 PM  

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