What is never or rarely done in the script development phase of a project, but should become one of the basics of the development process?
"Giving voice to the characters. There is a lot of advice out there on how to structure your story, which is crucial, since it is the plot that will draw the readers and then the audience in. But not much on how to flesh out your characters and give them their own voice. Just reading your dialogue out loud is a big step which, surprisingly, some writers never do at all. However, you should do that, either yourself or with a couple friends. There is no need to act it out convincingly, but simply hear the words spoken, as they are intended to be. This will help you capture each character's different voice. In the end, it is the characters, their emotions, that will be remembered by the readers and the audience."
How do you know if your film idea is as good as you yourself think it is?
"If it does well theatrically and with the critics! But to get there, firstly you must truly think that your idea is good. Really good. Setting out to develop your idea is the start of a long journey, so be sure you truly love your idea and are convinced it is good enough to share with others. Then, if you have a topic you love, and have a point of view on it that you wish to express, you hopefully will find people interested enough in helping you get this made. Other than to boost your morale, do not rely too much on friends telling you it is a great idea, nor be too demoralized by financiers saying that there is no audience for it. Just make sure you believe that your view, your take, on this idea is something you believe will actively interest people."
Who are your biggest partners in the script development process?
"Myself! You have to be your biggest fan and your hardest-driving boss. This is actually a serious answer. When you are at the birth of the project you will be the main driving force behind pushing the project along, working on the scenario, not letting it die when it takes time. So, you have to believe in it, be behind it, not give up on it... and push it on. Though people love to explain how they wrote a film in a week, most projects are overnight discoveries that took several years to happen. So, love your project, believe in it, and do not give up on yourself. That being said, you also have to balance this with being open, listen to people's advice, analyse why they are giving this advice and see if you feel like trying to incorporate it."