“First drafts are learning what your novel or story is about. Revision is working with that knowledge to enlarge or enhance an idea, or reform it.”– Thomas Wolfe
In the Fall of 2016, we were excited to announce that we’d completed the screenplay and were looking forward to the next phases of development. Well… we soon realized that there was more work to be done. My co-writer (producer/director John Lewis) and I felt that there were far too many issues that specifically affect our community to ignore. The challenge was to incorporate the new subject matter into the screenplay, while maintaining the essence and tone of the original story.
We didn’t really give ourselves a solid deadline to have this new draft completed, but we estimated it might take about a month. There was research to be done and we had to travel to DC to get it done right. We came back to LA, ready to wrap things up, but within a few weeks, I was off to the UK to work on a Netflix show and John was editing a documentary.
We got back to work in mid-December, finished the draft and had a table read right away. The actors who participated did an amazing job at bringing our characters to life and allowed us to immediately pick up on what worked and what didn’t. Probably the best and most productive part of the evening occurred after the reading. Many of the actors stayed and shared their thoughts on the hits and misses of the current iteration of When Autumn Leaves. That feedback session was extremely fruitful and encouraging, but some of the questions raised needed to be addressed. There was still more work to do.
With the holidays right around the corner, John and I stepped away from the writing process for a while. Before we could reconvene in January, pilot season had begun for me and I was soon cast in a pilot for a new show. At the same time, John was making plans to move back to Los Angeles from Oakland. We agreed that the best time to attempt to complete the rewrite would be after I was finished shooting and John was settled in LA. So, that’s what we did.
In March, we put our heads together and began work on this latest edit. We hadn’t planned on spending so much time away from the script, but it actually worked in our favor. It enabled us to look at the script with fresh eyes and as a result, address some things that had escaped us before.
It’s now early May, we have completed the rewrite and are very happy with the results. The process wasn’t an easy one. In an effort to keep the page count down and ensure that the story moved at a good pace, we had to say goodbye to some bits of dialogue and aspects of the story that we were once very happy with. What made those cuts easier was the knowledge that the screenplay was becoming stronger as a result. And now, we’re anxious to move forward with a screenplay that we are truly excited about.
We’ve also got a few other things in the works that we look forward to sharing in the very near future so follow the When Autumn Leaves Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook accounts to see what we’re up to. Also, if you haven’t already, join our community and stay up to date more exciting developments by signing up for the When Autumn Leaves Newsletter.
We’re back in SoCal having had a great trip to the DMV. Our time in the Nation’s Capital was productive, educational and exactly what the doctor ordered to cure an acute bout of homesickness. We were able to accomplish most of the items on our ambitious “Things-To-Do” list during our week’s stay. Hopefully, we’ll be able to take care of those remaining items on a subsequent trip in a few weeks.
One of the first stops was Busboys and Poets on 14th & V St, one of our favorite spots in the city. In fact, much of the When Autumn Leaves screenplay was written there. While there, we were able to check out a Chalk4Peace event and meet some of the good people from Words, Beats & Life, a non-profit organization that through the power of hip-hop, are doing great work in the community. To attempt to paraphrase their Mission Statement would be doing them a disservice. Here it is in their own words:
As stated in our last post, one of the main reasons for the trip was to do some preliminary location scouting. We knew that many things have changed since we’ve been able to spend any significant time in Washington, DC. Mainstays like Bohemian Caverns have closed their doors while several new bars, restaurants, galleries and condo developments have opened theirs. There were many things to see in the city. Below are a few of the places we visited.
Perhaps the highlight of the trip was watching the opening of the NMAAHC on the jumbotron on the grounds of the Washington Monument. It was truly amazing to be among the crowd witnessing history being made. A particularly funny moment occurred during the introductions of the honored guests of the ceremony.
As mentioned earlier, we look forward to another trip soon, to follow up on our recent meetings and to check off a few more things from our list. Oohs and Ahhs and the Blue Duck Tavern, that means you! There are so many interesting and exciting things to see and do in DC and it’s a challenge to fit them in during a week’s visit. We’re up for the challenge though and we can’t wait to showcase them in the film!
Follow the When Autumn Leaves Instagram and Facebook accounts to see what we’re up to. Also, if you haven’t already, join our community and stay up to date with all of the exciting developments by signing up for the When Autumn Leaves Newsletter.
Keep an eye on the When Autumn Leaves Instagram and Facebook accounts to see what we’re up to in the Nation’s Capital. Also, if you haven’t already, join our community and stay up to date with all of the exciting developments by signing up for the When Autumn Leaves Newsletter.