Working with writers and filmmakers with very diverse projects, from experimental to genre, is part of what makes my work challenging, but also incredibly rewarding. It is certainly never boring. Every project is a keyhole into a new world, every writer I sit across from a welcome new encounter.
Script consulting sessions usually take the form of personal meetings with the writer or filmmaker. When this is not possible, due to location or urgency, skype sessions take the place of the face-to-face meetings. Occasionally, I write analyses, but I’d much rather sit across from the person who then has to go off and write on her/his own.
There are people who are sceptical about script consultants and understandably so. I see script consulting as support for the writer/filmmaker during the development stage of a film, and never as so-called ‘script doctoring’, with which it is sometimes confused. I am not a doctor – my intention is not to fix a script, with the presumption being that it is somehow broken or sick.
In my preparation for a session, I try to understand the writer’s intentions through reading the script carefully multiple times, I take notes on my reactions and expectations during the course of the reading (these first reactions can be valuable insights for me and the writer who is often so deep in their work they no longer know what exactly is on the page). With the writer’s possible intention in mind and what actually transports itself from the page, I reconsider the text: could it be more of what the writer intends or the script tells me it is (sometimes these are not necessarily in agreement), are there any moments, scenes or characters that work against the intentions? Never forgetting that a film is an act of communication. And an act of communication includes, even requires, a recipient: the audience. In a consulting session I am also an early audience who attempts to keep in mind the later one, with particular regard to how the script and later the film intends to engage with that audience.