My partner in the second phase of the Script Project, Marvin Wolf, was pretty familiar with the first draft of our collaborative screenplay, "Right of Way," having contributed two different five-page segments to it last summer. But just to make sure we were on the same page, we met to discuss the story a few weeks ago at a coffee shop near his home in Santa Monica.
Marv and I agreed the story was a bit too complicated, with a couple of plot threads that didn't pay off and one or two others that added little to the narrative or theme.
For instance, several murders in the first draft were committed by stuffing bricks of peat down victims' throats, a colorful and unique M.O. to be sure, but one that begged for an explanation that never came. (For a while, the peat seemed to tie in with murder victim Larry Davis' unsavory business dealings in Scotland, but we never quite pulled that together.)
Marv resolved to whittle the screenplay down to its essentials and build from there. He decided to base his draft on two documents that he would write and I would review -- one a recap of all the story's characters and their place in the narrative; the other a rough treatment outlining a leaner, meaner script.
The process is typical of Marv, who goes about his creative endeavors with a methodical precision that has enabled a prodigious output. In the ten months since he and I and 18 others wrote "Right of Way," Marv has completed a spec comedy feature, "Shady Banks," with another partner, and finished his first novel, "Sea of Dreams," which he sent off to a publisher.
He's also starting a new book proposal with an ex-cop who worked as Larry Flynt's bodyguard. At last count, he's had 15 books and hundreds of magazine articles published.
With all that going on, Marv quickly found time to launch our rewrite with his two promised documents, one of which, the treatment, ran some 25 pages. It was pretty good too.
We're meeting again soon to refine the outline, after which he'll begin the new draft with me serving as an occasional sounding board. We'll keep you posted.