Jacob Krueger and Star Wars, The Rewrite Awakens (ISA Sponsored)

Posted: Jan 19, 2016 Hosted By: Jacob Krueger

As I was watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it occurred to me that in many ways, this movie is just a rewrite of Star Wars: A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back with a little spattering of Return of the Jedi splashed in there.

And like any effective rewrite, the structure and the approach of Star Wars: The Force Awakens focuses on two vital concepts: Compression and Amplification.

Compression begins with identifying the very best elements of your early draft, and cutting out all the boring, average, or even good stuff in between, so that you're left with only the very best of the best.

And Amplification is about "turning up the volume" on those vital elements, visualizing them even more closely, exploring them even more deeply, and pushing them even further than you knew they could go.

On a creative level, this brings the essence of your script to the surface, allowing you to get right to the heart of what really matters, without distracting yourself, or your audience, with all that stuff in between.

On a commercial level, this makes every page a heck of a lot more compelling to read (and worthy of the thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars it's going to take to shoot each line you write).

But most importantly, on a story level, this means you can tell more of your story faster, allowing you to take your character, your audience, and even yourself further than they (and you) were expecting when you first sat down to write.

In this way (and in true Star Wars fashion), rewriting isn't just a mechanical process of making your script better or following a bunch of suggestions from coverage readers or producers. It's also a spiritual journey towards connecting with yourself and with your voice as a writer.

It's interesting that The Force Awakens came to the theatres just as we were talking about the concept of "The Engine" of so many successful TV series on this podcast. Because every movie also has an engine. And once you've identified that engine, both structurally and thematically, the process of compression, and amplification, and revision, becomes much easier.