Feeling my pain? I'll wager you are, you bloodshot excuse for a human being. Eight days to go until the Red Planet Prize deadline. Actually, seeing as no-one in their right mind wants to contribute to the annoyingly inevitable flood of entries on or immediately before the deadline-day itself, that's more like five days to go.
I don't believe I've ever worked so hard on ten pages of script. They've been revamped, restructured and rejigged, all while being fed through the wondrous meat-grinder which is the Power Of Three system. Late last week, I couldn't see the woods for the trees, so left it alone and didn't so much as fire up Final Draft until tonight. This turned out to be a good move. I could print out those first 10 pages (of 30), recline and read again with something approaching fresh eyes. Had a great idea for the opening scene, cutting through the crap and getting straight in there. Removed one character entirely. Turned one scene into a near-death experience. Did all this tonight, then sent it to another pair of eyes and quickly got some very positive feedback. So I'm feeling a fair deal better.
If you're anything like me, though, you'll be sitting there with a perfectly decent, sparkly script and thinking, "But could it WIN? I've had two months to do just these 10 pages - shouldn't they redefine the very core of the universe and, like, instantly blow the face off of all who cast eyes upon them?".
Well, that would be nice. God, wouldn't it just. But remember this: Red Planet supremo Tony Jordan wants to see writing, as opposed to a script he can make. He wants to get a sense of our style, ability, professionalism and that elusive 'voice'. So don't worry if your script isn't about to kickstart a new zeitgeist. Just make it as good as it can be, without polishing so hard it loses that edge - the one which you, and you alone, can offer.
And if you could try not to make it better than mine, I'd be much obliged. Good day to you.