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Portal Blog

Editing Your Script for Portal

Editing a script is as imperative as writing it. WithPortal’s shorter word maximum, however, additional issues should be considered to make a great first impression. While countless guides, like Ray Morton‘s or Jeanne Veillette Bowerman’s, stress how the best works can convey a world in just a few words, most of these are written about a full-length script. So what will help it fit into Portal?
1.      What Is It?
First and foremost, consider what type of script it is. Film screenplays move fast or slow, while television scripts could be far more generous with time, if episodic in nature. Genre and subject matter are also crucial. It will usually take longer to set up a Sci-Fi setting than a realistic scene.
2.      What Happens First?
What is the script’s first action or event? Does it make a splash? The sooner it grabs the reader’s attention, the more indelible impression it will make. Or, in contrast, the first lines could build up to something grander.
3.      What Can Be Dropped?
If editing from a full-length script, are there characters, scenes, or subplots that make no sense in this new shorter length? If a character, for example, plays a larger role much later in the script, can they be excised from this one to stand alone. 
4.      What Happens Last?
Does the last event in the script serve as a natural conclusion? It’s likely not everything will be solved or answered, but enough should happen so that the reader does not feel cheated by what they have just read. Even small developments can serve as a fitting end to your work.
The end of The Big Lebowski doesn’t conclude every plot thread, but by then viewers/readers at least know the true circumstances of Bunny Lebowski’s kidnapping.
These tips help to distill the best parts of a script into a submission to Portal. In short, not a word should be wasted in making the best scenes possible.
-Chynna Moore, Script Editor
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