Oh my goodness. Saturday was a big day for me--the day I had my first feature script read by a bunch of folks. It's my first draft, and I'm trying to improve it, so I organized a table reading so I could get input from the readers about what worked and what didn't.
I was so nervous! I ended up with an upset stomach. Seems like stress and nerves always does that to me. Anyhow, I really had no reason to be stressed out. As it turns out, the folks involved in the reading enjoyed doing the reading, they liked the script, they laughed at the appropriate moments (as far as I could see, anyway), and for the most part anything that they pointed out as needing work is stuff that I suspected needing fixed anyway. I had a number of areas that I knew needed work and I had some suspicions about some things needing to be cut, like the mentor character, and they agreed. They gave me some awesome suggestions plot-wise, thoughts on stuff to add and expand on, how to make the characters a little more realistic, and helped me in the areas where my language might have been a bit dated for the teens. I love that my son asked me what time frame the movie took place, because he pointed out that some of the language would have been fine in a certain decade, but not in present time. Luckily for me, not too much of the language I picked was outdated. I told the teens that I wrote most of their dialogue based on my observations of teen conversations that happen on facebook (and elsewhere on the net). I used the slang they use as much as possible to give it a modern day feel.
My biggest struggle I'm having is trying to decide if this should be R rated or PG-13. I want the dialogue to be natural, and to do that, I would need to have more curse words and the f-bomb sprinkled throughout the script. Sailors could learn a few things from listening to the way teens swear nowadays, I tell ya. So to have a script be pg-13, I would have to delete the F words. That just doesn't feel real to me. And for a script that has no references to sex or nudity to be made an R rated movie for those few stupid curse words just seems really really stupid. I'm not sure what to do about that.
Anyhow, overall, I would say the reading was a big help. I want to thank all those that participated--my husband, Micah; my son, David; my niece, Emily; Chrysann; Lynsee; Addy; and especially Alan, who loaned me the use of his business so I would have a nice quiet place for everyone to sit and have plenty of room to spread out the snacks. I hope you all felt well-fed and felt like you got as much out of the reading as I did.