Power Of Three: just to clarify...

A fellow writer asked me about Adrian Mead's Power Of Three system, so I assume other people might be interested. There's also a matter in which I'm unclear. So here we go...

In Adrian's excellent London day-class, a couple of months back, he gave us a template for progressing and polishing your script using other people's critiques. The Power Of Three system involves giving the first draft (or whenever you're ready to show it, in my own view) to three readers, who give feedback. You act on it - especially on points over which there is a consensus - then give the second draft to three more readers. Then the third draft goes to yet more readers. Bingo! It shines like a new fifty pence piece.

A fellow writer asked me how much notes/coverage these Power Of Three readers give, and I didn't have an answer. In the first round which I just did, the notes/coverage varied considerably. All were extremely useful, I'm pleased to say, but the actual volume and detail really differed from person to person. So I'm tempted to say it's really a matter of (a) how much time people are willing or able to spend; and/or perhaps (b) how much time they are inspired to spend on writing notes.

I hunger for views on this. Feed my face.

6 comments:

potdoll said...

i work as a script editor for a film company. my producer insists notes on first drafts are kept to a minimum. talk broad strokes rather than details. details are for later drafts.

also it depends on the writers. some writers thrive on loads of notes, others loathe them.

that's my view. hope it fed your face. :)

Jason Arnopp said...

That's a good point - broader notes for earlier drafts. Kinda makes sense, I guess... Although technically first drafts should have more 'wrong' with 'em! :)

potdoll said...

first drafts do have more 'wrong' with them, but it sort of makes sense deal with the biggies first.

ie if the plot isn't working you need to fix that first before you think about more minor stuff like if character X would really wear spotty socks etc, which is irrelevant if the more fundamental stuff isn't functioning properly.

hope i am making sense. i have only been script editing for a few years and i'm therefore very much a learner.

Lucy said...

I agree with Potdoll. Early-early drafts need looking at holistically, whereas later drafts get the nitpicky notes taking everything apart in minute detail: would so and so do this? Is this location the most dramatic, etc.

I always give lots of notes of Powers of 3, I think. I just can't shut up. But PD's right on that too: some writers think, the more notes one gets, the more they've "failed", when that's not actually what it's about. Also, I don't think it's actually possible to "fail" in writing - unless you don't actually write anything. Then you're not a writer, just a big fat fibber. But presumably you wouldn't ask for feedback if you hadn't written anything. I'll shut up now...

Dom Carver said...

I think rough notes on the first draft and something more in depth on a later draft.

On your first draft you're not really looking for detail, just notes on structure, character, plot, theme, etc. Once the baiscs are sorted it's then you go more indepth.

Were you the one snoring at the back of Adrian's seminar? No wonder you're confused.

Jason Arnopp said...

How dare you, Carver!

I was snoring roughly halfway back through the room.

Just kidding, Adrian. You rule.