Writing A Screenplay For The First Time by Nadia Jordan

Nadia Jordan, Filmmaker/Actor: I just had such a strong idea of what I wanted and the story and I knew things about arcs and how I needed to hit this and was very aware of when I was writing it how it would film and budgets. At one point it I put it through script doctors and get feedback on it.

It was really interesting if there were some things that I was nervous about, if it came back, then I would change it. Everyone has an opinion and whoever you give a script to…it’s easy to pick scripts apart. I would give the script to people that I knew would be ultra-critical because I don’t want someone to tell me “Oh it’s a great script!” For the sake of it, give it to your hardest critics and if they pick up on something that you’re not sure about, then you know to change it. 

That’s what I did. I gave it to a lot of people. I know a lot of established writers and I would give it to them. My writing partner would have a meltdown every time it came back. She would take it more personally but I was just looking at it from a business side, making a good film. I don’t care what you say about my writing. If something is not working…and it actually changed a lot with the characters. If some character was coming across a little less likable than another, we would go in and change that. Or if some characters needed a bit more backstory and they were a bit more one-dimensional we would change that. 

I think I just had a very strong idea of where I wanted it to go and was just open to having input and really wanted to make the best script possible so whatever that took.

Film Courage: Have you always been open to input? Because that’s a great idea in terms of so many people they feel crushed with their first project and then they never want to do it again.

Nadia: No. The thing with me…it’s funny. I can’t decide what I want to have for lunch today. But when it comes to work, some things I just know that this is how I want to do it and nothing will waiver against that.

It was the same when I was in the edit process. Sometimes you just know things are working and you know when they are not. And if it’s something I’m insure about or I don’t know about then yes, of course I want input from everyone. I think that’s basically how I got through this film. I had a couple of great people looking at the script for me and a couple of producers helping me out with things I might not have known on the producing side.

I’m always open. Sometimes I might go with my own idea if I have a very strong feeling about something. But I think that’s the key to making a good film is collaboration. You don’t want to do it all your way. If there is good people around you with good input then listen.

Film Courage: At what point did you take it to a script doctor or script doctors (I don’t know how many people you actually had see it)?

Nadia: I don’t think it was actually a script doctor. I think it’s script coverage. So you put it through this service and they read it. They don’t change anything or write anything for you but they will read it and give you feedback. A lot of the studios will use it. They will put their scripts through and have people read it and give them marks and marks off for this and is it funny and how would you describe it.  

I think I put it through two or three and it wasn’t until I was really happy with it…not really happy with it. We’d gone as far as we could at that point and then it was Okay let’s just see how it reads to somebody else.

Film Courage: Were there points where you were surprised that with the coverage notes they really loved something or they didn’t love something?

Nadia: There were no real surprises to me actually. There were things that I knew we still needed to work on. It’s always interesting though with a script, with an edit, with the film (anything) what appeals to different people. You watch a film with one audience and the whole room seems to laugh at different things than what an audience will laugh at on another night. And they don’t know. How are they laughing at completely different things? And it was the same with the script. People would pick up these things and it was like Well that’s not really funny. That wasn’t meant to be funny but great if you think it’s funny then that’s probably a good thing.

And there would be other things that people would pick up that I just felt that okay that’s just their opinion so it really depended on the kind of comments we got back to how personally or whether I was going to take them and actually make a change from that.

Question For The Viewers: When you began writing did it come naturally to you?

Watch the video interview on Youtube here




Nadia Jordan on the set of FOR THE LOVE OF GEORGE


Set in early 2014, Poppy Wakefield works as a freelance journalist from her beautiful home in England. Her seemingly perfect, if predictable, life is shattered when she discovers her husband Stephen is having an affair. ​ In shock from betrayal, she finds comfort in a TV segment featuring George Clooney. George is everything her husband isn’t – sophisticated, funny, charming – someone who cares about making a difference in the world and who Poppy believes is her ideal match! When she receives a well timed invitation to visit her friend Justin in LA, Poppy decides to give fate a helping hand and takes off on a quest to cross paths with George – where she has no doubt they will fall in love at first sight! However a surprise announcement brings Poppy and her romantic fantasy crashing back down to earth. Through a funny series of near misses, unrelated adventures and colorful characters, Poppy navigates her new life in LA, until one day fate throws her a very unexpected curveball.

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Occurrence at Mills Creek is a psychological horror film that examines the dynamics of strong female characters against a supernatural backdrop through failing reality. Now on Indiegogo until April 17th, 2019.