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A few times a year, I story edit feature film scripts, usually working with emerging filmmakers.

As a story editor, I see my job as challenging writers to dig out their best possible work, whether in comedy or drama. It’s not my role to impose ideas, although I make sure the writers—and producers and directors—are up-to-date on market demands and conditions.

Screenwriting involves making a series of choices, and I aim to ensure writers make their choices consciously rather than by stabbing in the dark. I start by analysing their scripts, then ask a series of targeted questions over seven or eight meetings. The old Socratic method, as multi-talented filmmaker Karen Lam called it, when I story edited her first feature, Stained.

Check out Karen’s trailer for Stained:

Stained is written and directed by Karen Lam, and produced by Karen Lam, Katie Weekley and Bob Crowe. A psychological thriller about a woman in thrall to her tortured past, it has played at festivals around the world, including the Cannes Film Marche: Perspectives Canada Showcase 2010. Stained stars Tinsel Korey (Emily of The Twilight Saga), and Sonja Bennett.

Find out more about Karen’s work at www.karenlamfilms.com

For more information about story editing services, please contact:
Jennifer Hollyer and Ilana Miller,
The Jennifer Hollyer Agency,
119 Spadina Avenue,
Suite 403,
Toronto, ON M5V 2L1
Canada
416.928.1425

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Story Editing Tip:

During rewrites, go through your script and make sure at least one thing changes in every scene, and that it feeds your story. Maybe a bomb explodes, shredding expectations. Maybe one character loses power over another, whether she’s a mother confronting her daughter or a sergeant roaring at a grunt. An image we’ve seen before morphs into its opposite. A character learns something; the audience learns something. We expect the car to go straight and it hangs a sharp left. In too many early drafts, the script reads like an old magazine in a dentist’s office. No news.