Posted by: steveonfilm | December 12, 2011

The Prey: Draft 4

Started the 4th draft of ‘The Prey’ today.

Had a good call with Michael last week and he gave me some more notes for the latest draft. The basic gist of his notes were “add in some tension to the ‘scary’ set pieces.”

My background is in thrillers and action scripts. That’s just what I like to write. So naturally, the pacing and beats of the current iteration of ‘The Prey’ reflects that.

Things move quickly. Tension in scenes isn’t drawn out. The stakes are set up and the action is executed without wasting pages. That can work fine for a thriller and many action scripts. It doesn’t work fine for a horror script.

I need to slow some things down. Draw out the pay off. Build up the tension. And overall just add in some “scary.”

This isn’t a huge amount of re-writing, but it will mean taking some time to really consider how I’m approaching certain scenes. And figuring out if there’s a way to make the payoff a bit more intense, and to draw it out so that you’re on the edge of your seat before the moment happens.

And really, that’s what it’s all about. Playing with that payoff. The audience knows it’s coming. The only question really is when… and if you can master that then you’ve got them in the palm of your hands.

I also have to pull back a bit of the comedic elements in the script. While this is by no means a comedy, I do have a little fun with some of the genre tropes, and Michael wants me to scale that back. Again, not a huge amount or rewriting, but I’ll need to tweak some scenes, description, and action so that it falls more in line with what he thinks will be successful.

I’ve got some significant vacation time coming up. If things go the way I hope they do, I should be able to wrap up this draft by New Year’s Day.

Keep writing,


  1. I’ve had your script for five months now and this was the day I was going to read it (I started getting paid to read some scripts, so obviously they had to take precedent). What draft do I have? Should I hold off? I’ve been interested in it for some time, and I see the email, marked as unread, every single day.

    • Ha! That’s likely an old ass draft. Toss it. This current draft will take a few weeks. I’ll make a post when I’m done. Congrats on the reader gig. Come across anything good yet?

      • Alright, sounds good. I figured it was too outdated to be worth reading, and I know the dangers of trying to forget the earlier draft, as a reader, when reading a subsequent draft.

        • By the way, this Survivor season you almost joined…sigh, you should see it. Every week there’s been a new person to not show up, so the entire game has been these academic, obvious eliminations. It’s been running for two months, but because of participation issues, the people still in the game could have crapped in a box for their submissions and they’d still be around just by showing up. A frustrating season over at Casa de Leche.

          • Ugh, that’s the worst. Sorry to hear that. On the flip side, you get to be on TV soon, so at least you’ve got that going for you.

            • Yeah, that pretty much deadens the pain of everything.

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