Had a readthrough of my latest project (the one I was rewriting all over Christmas) on Monday which was awesome. Can't say too much about it at this stage, but a few of us went up to London, gathered some actors and read through the script a couple of times. I've never done this before so it was pretty interesting and very useful. There are a couple of issues that may be of interest to anyone looking to do the same thing.
The first was to do with last minute revisions. Following a script meeting last Thursday I'd spent the whole of Saturday quickly working in some quick changes to the latest draft. On Sunday evening we had another meeting where it was decided that these changes were substantial and important enough to include in the readthrough. The problem was that the scripts for the readthrough had already been printed and without access to an all-night stationery shop and unlimited time we could only really print off the amended pages and hope these could be implemented on the day.
This led to some confusion in the first read. I was stopping people every five minutes to tell them when a revised scene was required which then led to the actors flipping through loose papers until they found the right scene. On the second read we changed tactics and I announced each scene before it started rather than everyone racing through the whole script. This was much more effective and meant that we took a lot more time over the script as a whole which was better. Ideally everyone would have had an up to date version of the script but under the circumstances this couldn't be helped.
The only problem with me reading out the scene headings (and summarising the actions) was that I couldn't pay as much attention to the read as I did the first time, but I think I got what I needed from it anyway. I was expecting that hearing the dialogue acted out would mostly highlight clunky lines of dialogue and occasionally it did, but more useful were the gaps in the scenes revealed by the process. It was really obvious when a character was in a scene but hadn't spoken for a while and most of the notes I wrote down were about adding lines for characters rather than cutting lines that didn't work.
Overall it went really well - people laughed in the right places, no one got confused about what was going on or what the lines meant and for the most part the story seemed to work just fine. I am now in the process of writing another draft and I'm not sure it will be the very last, but it does feel a bit closer to being finished now.
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