How do you get group feedback on a feature script in the early stages? So far, it’s been by sharing 5-10 pages at a time with my writers group.

But what about the structure? Am I sure it’s going to work? Is it possible to share an entire outline with the group?

That was my goal for this past Sunday’s get together. I’ve been working from a loose outline, but it seemed too loose to share. So I started turning it into a treatment. I got through Act 1 before running out of steam.

Still, the act of writing it solidified certain aspects in my mind. Then I could discuss that document and my plans for the strucure more clearly.

Here’s the doc, half treatment, half fuzzy outline:

My sounding board, Wayne, gave me a few suggestions to strengthen the first act. Basically, give Jess a more active role in discovering clues about the parallel dimension game before even meeting Trevor. Or maybe that’s WHY she meets Trevor, in following up a lead. We talked about ways to bring in fantastic elements earlier, while adding plot points to the first act to make it longer.

There’s also the challenge of making Jess likeable, vulnerable, yet able to grow into a strong hero. I don’t want her to get sidelined. Even though Trevor is the action hero at first, she has to assume that role by the end of the movie, so it’s her story. Wayne brought up Batman — be careful not to let it become about Batman battling the Joker, while she watches. No — I’d rather it be like Vicky Vale discovering who Batman is, then taking on the Joker herself.

I came away from that meeting with a hundred new ideas to try. It might mean starting over from page one, so I think I’ll finish a solid treatment first.

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