Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Editing is like falling in a hole with cough syrup at the bottom, and also you are drunk

So I worked all day and entered some kind of late-stage editing madness.  Here are some of the ridiculous things I have been squinting at over the past 16 hours:

1. "When I was at boarding school" -- is boarding too expository?  Is "When I was at school" better? What about "When I was away at school"? Need to ask a friend who has attended some kind of Fancy School for Fancy People.

2. If I say that somebody in a gay porn video has an Eastern bloc haircut, will people get what I mean? I am experiencing that thing where a word's on the tip of your tongue, except it is a joke about that weird fucking haircut where the bangs are long and straight and it makes me think about the USSR dear sweet fuck what is that joke.  

3. I am reluctant to use brand names in this play because of the subject matter.  I don't want to be all NINTENDO DS, PREFERRED BRIBE OF CHILD PREDATORS! Also, then things get all dated.  But using no brand names is weird.  Right now I am seriously using "handheld video game thing" in stage directions.

4. Discovered today that I need at least two new scenes.  What will be in them? It is a DELIGHTFUL SURPRISE, even to me.


Pat Donahue said...

First of all, great to see you're updating this again. As to your questions:

1. As someone who went to a Fancy School for Fancy People, I think whether or not to call it "boarding school" depends on the character. Is the character in question a person who would have been EXPECTED to attend a Fancy School for Fancy People, and is (s)he talking to someone with a similar background? Is (s)he describing an experience that pretty much anybody who's ever gone to school can relate to, or is it something that could only happen at a boarding school? OR, is it something so personal and specific that it doesn't particularly matter what type of school it was? All questions worth considering. I will say with certainty that it's definitely not "too expository" -- at least not necessarily.

3. I'm with you in terms of finding brand names tricky. When a generic or made-up name is used in an overall realistic/serious piece, it tends to take me out of the work. On the other hand, I know people who hear or see a single brand name and assume it's simply crass product placement, which takes THEM out. If the issue you're worried about is dating the work, I guess I'd ask if the item in question has to be a video game system. Is there anything that would be as effective in the context, but with a brand name that's ubiquitous enough not to grow dated?

Will Goldberg said...

Thanks, Pat! I need to be better about it -- I was doing so well recently, but deadlines have been kicking my ass.

1. It's a wealthy adult character speaking to a young working-class character about families. The gist of it is "when I was away at school, I would miss my family, but then I would come home and remember how much they sucked."

3. The events of the video game (but not a title) are referred to in dialogue, and I like that it's a video game system because it's a present the younger character couldn't afford to buy for himself. The device itself is only referred to in stage directions -- the sentence is something like "Sean is playing a handheld video game thing." I'll have to give it some more thought, but the point about brand ubiquity is definitely a good one.