When I start on a new project, I make a point of reading scripts and watching films that are similar to the kind of story I’m trying to tell.
This time around, it’s a rewrite of my mystery-comedy, so among the works being studied are CHINATOWN, L.A. CONFIDENTIAL and WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT (comedy, remember?). There are a lot more to consider (suggestions are always welcome), but I don’t want to overdo it. As much as I love submersing myself into these stories, I would like to eventually get around to actually working on the script.
Putting myself through this has a double benefit: I get to see solid examples of elements of the story and genre, which forces me to come up with different ways of how to tell a similar story but with my my own stamp on it. I’ll also be the first to admit that my skills at putting a mystery together aren’t exactly the best, so studying these will hopefully help me get a better sense of how to develop that part of the story.
Since this also happens to be a story I’ve worked on before, a lot of it is already in place, but there’s still a ton of work to do, with lots of ideas and changes being considered. Luckily, I have a few previous drafts to mine for material. Almost like starting anew, but with something very familiar.
My hope is that studying these scripts and films will help me get a better understanding of how all the puzzle pieces fit together in those stories, which will in turn will help me figure out how to do the same with mine.
This is the kind of homework I actually look forward to having.