Mark Kilbane, the producer, actor, and screenwriter -- a triple-threat guy -- has finished the first draft of the script for The Man Who Never Missed.
He was gracious enough to let me read it. He didn't have to do that. Book writers often go ballistic when they behold what scriptwriters do to their novels.
My response: Not bad ... for a white boy ...
As a now-and-then scriptwriter myself, and the guy who wrote the novel upon which Mark's script is based, I can't pretend to objectivity. It's not exactly how I would have written it, it couldn't be. But the spine of the story is there, that's what matters, and I thought he did a great job capturing the essence of Khadaji's story.
Yeah, there were a few niggling things I thought he should fix, but really minor stuff I'd have pointed out in any script, details that went to what little I know. So I mentioned them. None of these fazed him. (He'd already re-read the draft and dealt with the first one before I brought it up, and is perfectly willing to address the others.)
His script serves the material well, it moves right along, and I was pleased. If it were to show up onscreen as he has it, I'd be happy to point at it and grin. He done good.
Of course, that's not how things work in LaLaLand. If you start out with a terrific script, by the time it gets whittled on by everybody who is allowed to take a knife -- sometimes an axe -- to it, what you wind up with never looks the same. (In my capacity as a novelizer of a couple movie scripts, I've seen how changes can go right down to the wire. In one case, I was sent the final draft of a screenplay to use for the novel tie-in. I started writing. A couple weeks later, they sent me the final final draft, and a big chunk of what I'd already written had to be thrown out because they had changed it. And when the movie finally hit the silver screen, there were more changes still ...)
But all that's down the line. What's important is that Mark has a clean script he can wave at folks, and that is the heart and soul of the process.
And we are off -- the game is afoot ...