As content as I was when I finished the last draft of Love in the Time of Monsters and posted "Done", I knew it was a temporary respite. I knew there were going to be notes, even big notes, but since I was so attached to the then-final draft I couldn't really fathom what would roll in from Matt and Andy. Months later, indeed the notes did roll in and I suddenly, again, became far from being done.
I always knew that the expensive stuff would most likely get cut - during the last rewrite Matt gave me the direction of writing without even considering cost. Just go wild, he said, burn the whole place down at the end, whatever. Then, I did that and it was great, but we all knew it all wouldn't last so no big deal. Scaling back all the destruction and explosions is really no problem for this project but with any luck, on a future project we can command the budget to scale that good ol' chaos past Cool, past Badass, and right up to Nuts.
What has humbled me as a writer lately was the notes that don't have anything to do with money but instead with story. With his NEW EYES, Matt reminded me that cellphones had an inconsistent dependability, that the swamp was farther away than the Delaney's broken-down RV, and that certain characters just don't need to exist after a certain point (he explained via Star Wars reference). These were all common logistical pratfalls that I attempted to avoid from day one yet here they were making me look bad.
So, to finally kosher it all up, last night Matt and I got together and hashed out all the revisions in one awesome sitting. I still have to write them all into the script properly but at least now we're both on the same page of who's doing what and when and why. There were inevitable moments in our dialogue when Matt and I argued vehemently about differing opinions on character motivation but we know to not take clashing personally, that quality of story is top priority, and what seems like arguing is just extensive communication about the clarity of strongly-held ideologies. I also understand that what works for me sometimes doesn't work for Matt, and it's his job to make what doesn't work for him work for the audience. He is my liason to you!
As much work as I have again laid out in front of me, I couldn't complain if I wanted to. Writing is my favorite thing to do, and when business meetings include coordinating wanton destruction, straining the human psyche to the limits, and just plain developing awesome entertainment, then this is the job for me and I'mma do it.
After we finally got through all this restructuring for the future, Matt and I took a spontaneous trip years back to what was called "Bigfoot Draft 2" and saw just how far this project has come in terms of both simplicity and emotional development. Over the years we've cut characters like Li'l Tommy, the mutated boy who lives in the woods, and subplots like how some characters are really ex-KGB, or undercover EPA, or totally religious. I still remember one of the first Murdered Little Darlings, when Andy said we couldn't even think about getting the "Bigfoot" monster truck to make a cameo. Knowing what I know now, I guess I really should've started with Truckasaurus and negotiated down.