I would describe script development as this: long, intense, often lonely part of the creative process that takes place before everyone falls in love with your script and wants to jump on board to work with you. Without that however, nothing can be produced because there is nothing to produce. The idea spark lands on the creator’s lap, who keeps on writing and re-writing before the idea takes shape and becomes a solid project.
Only recently, I discovered that for me, a looming deadline is not necessarily a great motivating factor. I surely get things done, but I’m not 100% sure working too fast approaching deadlines produces my best work. When I feel rushed, I get very anxious and that fear and haste are often reflected in my final piece.
Some creatives might do their best work while working under the pressure of a deadline. As for me, I need time and brain space to allow my ideas to breathe, develop and change. Only having enough time, which I can devote to the project, gives me that opportunity.
I think the development period should be treated on the same terms as production or post-production. If you don’t invest enough time in the development process, you will waste more time during the production or post-production stages trying to fix all those things that aren’t working. As we all know, trying to fix what could have been avoided in the first place is always expensive and time-consuming.
I usually develop several projects simultaneously; all are often at different development stages. For instance, I can write a script for one project, but for another, I’ll be re-working a treatment, and for yet another project, I could be just scribbling ideas while already shooting or editing a film at the same time.
Allowing the physical time between the re-writes and having the emotional space helps my projects mature slowly, becoming more in tune with the meaning I wanted to convey.
In my creative practice, development = time. Anyone who has ever created anything knows that every project requires commitment and time. Sometimes that doesn’t mean putting in the hours but how long it takes to develop that very idea and how much that initial idea changes over time because one gives themselves the time to stop, think, breathe, enjoy the titbits of life and re-adjust the concept.
People in the creative industry, particularly in film, constantly talk about the next project, as if moving from one project to another was the whole point of the creative process.
I see this process differently. Of course, being amid creativity is addictive and I always love that time and space when I’m in that moment and when the project finally comes together. But before I can arrive at that very moment, I need to develop something worth going these extra miles for.
For me, the development allows me to get acquainted with my idea from a variety of angles. It might as well happen that we (the project & I) aren’t the right fit for each other, and one part of the development process is setting the idea free to go whenever it needs to go.
Every single stage of project/film development, however difficult and painful it may feel at the time, needs to take place and should be given enough time to become its best self. Without all that sweat and tears, the final cut could never come to be.