I was at a seminar at the Danish Film School recently. The speaker said: “People begin their education out here, and they think what they write is just perfect”. The speaker smiled with glee: “Then we tell them they have to do not one or two, but FORTY rewrites!”.
Forty re-writes? Hmm.
I don’t know if I would reccomend that. I would never do forty rewrites. I know I don’t have the TIME to do forty rewrites. Especially not, if I’m not getting paid. Sorry. And you know what? I don’t think anybody else would either.
If I had to do forty rewrites, I would never write anything. I would start hating the material, and what I wrote would be utter crap. So even if my stories could use a little rewriting, I tend to stop when it’s not productive anymore. You can paint over the same painting in forty layers, I guess. But why would you? I’d rather move on to the next painting. If that makes me a hack painter, so be it.
I’ll go one further and say; If you have to rewrite something forty times, then it couldn’t have been very good to begin with.
So, how many rewrites? I mean complete break-it-up-and-put-it-togther-again rewites, not editing and meddling. 2 to 5 would be my answer.