When you’re hired to rewrite someone else’s existing screenplay, do you have to type the entire script out yourself or do you get the computer file? How does that work? I feel stupid, but it’s been bugging me for ages!

–Nathan

My first real rewrite was on BLUE STREAK, and when I got hired, that was my first question. In that case, the studio didn’t have the script on disk, so my assistant Emily had to retype the whole thing. (As an alternative, we could have scanned in the pages and used optical character recognition, but the studio offered to pay Emily to type it, so she did.)

Now that almost everybody uses Final Draft, it’s pretty common (if awkward), for the producer’s assistant to call the previous screenwriter and ask for the script on disk, or via email. If I’m leaving a project, I’ll always volunteer to give them the file, just because I know how uncomfortable it is to ask.