Dara Marks – the Second Consultation

Yesterday Laura and I had our second three and a half hour phone consultation with script consultant, Dara Marks. The first consultation two months ago dealt with thematic and story arc issues. This time around we were dealing with more concrete issues of dialogue, character development (or lack thereof), where to tighten a scene, story inconsistencies, etc. In other words, the small tweaks that will make the script ready to go out.

We sat in Laura’s office at her company, East Coast Flight Services. Dara had sent us a digital copy of her marked up script and we could see that on Laura’s computer as we talked on speaker phone. Some changes were in the script itself and some were on electronic sticky notes. The notes were not done in track changes and, for that, we were grateful. Track changes has its advantages, but sometimes it’s impossible to get rid of pesky tracking ghosts.

Laura and I had print-outs of the script we had sent Dara and we could both make notes during the session on our copies. Between us we will be able to fill in all the gaps. And Dara sends us a link to the tapes of the sessions so we can go back and listen if we have a question. At one point Dara said, “I’m getting excited all over again about this story.” We’ll hang on to that.

As with all critiquing, we are the final decision makers as to what is changed, but a fresh eye on the script is invaluable. A couple of times Dara commented that some teen dialogue didn’t seem current. We’ll have to pull in some teens to help us with that.

One suggestion from Dara was that every time we work we spend the first half hour or so reading out loud the ten pages we’d worked on the day before. We probably don’t do the out loud thing as much as we should, but will work on that. Our manager, Margie Farmer is going to arrange for a table read, and that will be helpful as well.

These are exhausting sessions. Dara is on the west coast so three hours earlier. We started yesterday at 3:30pm EST and finished at 7pm – wrung out and hungry. Earlier in the day I’d advised my husband to order a pizza because I wasn’t sure when I would be home. When I got home at 7:30 and he wanted to hear all about the session, I told him he’d have to wait until I’d had a glass of wine.

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