In one blog post, I wondered if the writer or director know, while writing or before shooting, if a scene is going to get cut…that it just bogs the story down. I even went so far as to wonder which of Julia‘s scenes would get the ax and if I would realize it while writing.
After some drastic scene-cutting, I can say that no, as I was writing the scenes, I had no idea they’d be cut. It wasn’t until I saw everything together that I realized they were too slow or didn’t add anything or messed up the timeline.
Now, after looking at yet another draft, and getting some beta reader comments back on the beginning of Julia, all I can say is SAVE YOUR DELETED SCENES!
One of the scenes I’d cut was of Julia and her sister talking. It didn’t do anything other than show her sister’s anger. I had plenty of other scenes that did that.
When some of my beta readers questioned why Julia’s sister acts as she does, I was surprised. I thought it was clear. Obviously, I knew why, but that wasn’t coming across. I looked at her sister’s scenes and none of them lent themselves to explanation. However, a certain deleted scene did. The setting was quiet and tried to capture a nostalgic moment between the sisters…that lack of action was actually one of the reasons it got cut…and the very reason I needed to resurrect it.
I was right to cut it the first time, though. It was just regurgitating what the characters and audience already knew. It just wasn’t working hard enough. But now, with some polish and extra purpose, it was a salvageable scene.
Luckily, I still had a copy of the scene so I didn’t have to rewrite it. I like to keep early copies of a story, as least while I’m working on it, so that I can repurpose discarded lines and actions.
What about you? Once it’s gotten the red pen, is it gone forever? Or do you keep it…just in case…or for posterity?