We need more doctors.
In a recent Riedel (aka #37) article, Neil Simon was referred to as the “Doc” of Broadway, having punched up and polished a whole bunch of Broadway scripts in his heyday. Apparently he even wrote a couple of zingers for Pulitzer Prize-winning, A Chorus Line, including the line, “I thought about killing myself, but then I realized to commit suicide in Buffalo is redundant.”
That one line has probably been worth thousands of laughs over the years, wouldn’t you think?
And if A Chorus Line benefited from a last-look by another writer, couldn’t others as well?
Hollywood doctors and polishes its scripts all the time. Did you know that Schindler’s List got a once-over before it went in front of the cameras? (This kind of work is more prevalent in H-town, because the scripts are not owned by the writers, but by the studios.)
This kind of work doesn’t happen on Broadway as much anymore . . . when it does happen, it’s usually when a show is in trouble. But what about making a very good script great with a fresh pen? Doesn’t Jay Leno hire other writers to make his monologue the funniest it can be? Doesn’t Barack Obama hire several speech writers to make sure his arguments are that much more convincing?
If you’re a Producer, think about whether or not your script could be just a bit better with some spit and polish.
And if you’re a writer, welcome the chance for someone to make your work look even better.