MY BEST ADVICE FOR WRITERS OF FACT-BASED OR FACT-INSPIRED SCRIPTS

By Elizabeth Bardsley

SAVE EVERYTHING! Seriously, that is the first thing that I tell every first-time fact-based or fact-inspired writer. Typically, first-time fact-based or fact-inspired writers jump enthusiastically into research, immersing themselves in the subject matter and dwelling in the minutia. Writers generally enjoy this process and pull from a multitude of research materials as they bring real individuals to life on the page.

As the development process advances, you'll likely be adhering to input from creative executives and possibly legal counsel; revisions quickly follow and details may become muted. Then consider the possibility that this project stalls… and stalls. Imagine, sadly, that you get a pass on this script from everyone; you go back to your day job, or maybe you're incredibly lucky and talented and go on to be involved with several more scripts over the next ten years. Then suddenly, there is interest in this fact-based or fact-inspired project! All those details about your research may be but a blurred, distant memory.

So, yes, SAVE EVERYTHING!

Set up a folder on the hard drive of your computer, set up a Google Drive, or set up a Dropbox. Take the time to create pdf documents and save articles, keep a list of books that you review and any individuals that you contact and/or speak to.

During the script annotation process it is imperative to provide meticulous references to underlying research materials. Save it now or be prepared for the possibility of re-researching your entire script.