Do The Doing

I have been editing. In an effort to be mildly proactive, as well as exercising some creative procrastination, I looked up the Framelines.tv website to see if they had been doing anymore interactive editing stuff. Turns out they have. A while back I found their site through a link and had fun editing some of the raw footage they provide specifically for that purpose.
At that time they had put up a collection of clips for a horror scene. You not only get to edit it but colour and work on sound design as well. It proved very popular, with many edits popping up on YouTube and Vimeo. My effort is here.
Having not fired up the old editing software for awhile – I use FCPX – and not having used it since the last update, some of the interfaces had changed. All the basic edit features were, thankfully, still the same. Most importantly, the keyboard shortcuts are the same, though I believe a lot of the shortcuts are common across editing software.
I found two lots of footage to play with, one a hospital scene with a doctor breaking bad news to a couple. This scene was for the student – me – to concentrate on was is called an L cut. An L cut is when one character is speaking and you switch to see the reaction of the person listening to the point of some relevant information. As the scene is about the talking and the actors’ reactions the editing should be natural and feel unobtrusive.
As I mentioned, I have not edited for awhile and found this more challenging than I would have expected. The actual cutting was not too difficult and the colour work was quite straightforward, sound, however, was hard, not the dialogue, but the mood music, which after four hours of editing was probably not done to the highest standard. You can judge my attempt for yourself here.
The second project was much more to my liking, though I must admit still not easy. An action project, it sees a woman walking into a room, shotgun at the ready. She is accosted from behind by a man, who she quickly dispatches. She turns to face a second assailant, who tries to punch her. Slipping the blow, she knees him to the body. He is followed by another assailant who swings a baton at her, which she evades and takes him down with an elbow. She then pulls out two hand guns and shoots a fourth stooge. This all happens in less than two minutes. The edit is kinetic, to say the least.
I have not even begun to work on the sound or look for music – freesound.org is my go to for all things sound – and I have only added a Sony LUT that I’ve reduced the intensity of by twenty-five percent as far as colour correction goes. All I have at the moment is a rough edit and rather than rush the work – I must admit that the excitement of editing the hospital scene, dull though the scene is, did have me rushing – I have left the edit for another day.
My meandering approach to becoming a filmmaker – though I have made films, I do not consider myself a filmmaker, even if one only has to eat one person to be considered a cannibal. I’m not sure the same holds true for filmmaking. – I am writing with regularity, though not scripts, the ideas are coming and the want to create is definitely back. I am edging toward doing.
Ultimately, it is only the doing that matters and in this regard – and the fact that I really enjoy it – getting back to editing has been a great step. I very much want, almost need, to write a feature film now. I have always leant more toward television writing as I have more of a love of television than I do of film, but from a creative standpoint – story, editing, colour, directing, production – film is where I see myself going. Just got to keep doing.

Hating On Reality

As an aspiring film and television writer, reality television is an abomination to me. Lazy television, accommodating talentless, fame hungry people and selling it as entertainment. Here in the United Kingdom the latest reality show – it might be in its second or third season, I’ve really no idea and refuse to research it. – is Love Island, a show where a collection of beautiful, single, young people are thrown together on an island and given various task to complete.
The show has garnered a lot of press for a lot of the antics, mostly of an overtly sexual nature, that have transpired. I do not consider myself a prude and an adult is entitled to do as they please, as long as their actions harm no other, but Love Island, a show that is deliberately salacious and is so abhorrent I cannot bring myself to watch even an episode, I have been watching snippets on YouTube and it is as awful as I feared.
Musclebound jocks and dolly birds with too much face paint show off and cavort on a specially created island. At the end of each episode, the watching public gets to vote off one of the participants. The group learn of this by one of them receiving a text and reading it out loud to the rest. The programme is just painful.
Suffering three minutes of this tripe is almost too much for me, with one of the least popular bawling their eyes out, because the other least popular character decided to leave. Utter shite. There are inane conversations and way too much makeup on just about everybody. Looking beautiful – depending on one’s perspective – seems to be the only requirement for getting into the shop window that this show is.
With the modern penchant for social media being seen as viable a career option, with popularity allowing celebrities to earn substantial amounts of money, there is a never ending supply of nubile, attractive women and hunky, gym-loving, vainglorious men prepared to embarrass and exhibit themselves for a voyeuristic and haughty public.
That reality television is so popular, especially in its present, obviously scripted, format is a mystery to me. There was a time when it was the contrast in the characters involved that was what made this type of show interesting and watchable. Now everyone in these shows looks the same. All of the participants fall into the eighteen to twenty-four demographic, all are slim and conventionally attractive or buffed up and pseudo-cool.
The public, however, laps up the show, happy to adopt it as a sort of guilty pleasure that makes them feel better about themselves, not being silly enough to allow themselves to be filmed for cheap entertainment. The feeling of superiority is reinforced by the type of people they tend to choose, who even for all their good looks and fine tans are obviously from working class backgrounds.
That this show is so popular says as much about the viewership as it does the participants, the class system and perceptions of the watchers that they are somehow better than those they are watching because, like spectators at an old Roman arena, they are being entertained. Of course, I see the irony in my rant, how by deriding Love Island, I too am viewing myself as above such fair. As I began, I have never been a fan of reality television. I want to be told stories. If I want to observe real life I can go sit on a bench in my local park. If I want to hear about other people’s mundane love life’s, I can get on a bus and hear any number of less than guarded conversations, people on mobile phones never aware of the fact they are out in public.
Unfortunately, reality television shows are not only initially cheap to make – the cost goes up once any of the participants gets really popular – but they also appeal to the ever important eighteen to twenty-four demographic, the mass consumers of media. As lazy and uninspiring as reality television is, it is not going away.

Watching The Wars

When I used to collect records, the vinyl kind, back in the eighties there was one artist whose music touched my heart to such an extent, that I would buy anything they produced. Anita Baker hit a musical and critical peak in the eighties, the release of her album Rapture, pushing her into the national consciousness. I bought her next album without even hearing a track, so enamoured with her sound I was at the time. Music was still mostly an aural experience then, not the social media driven industry it is now. Visual is king now.
I have written before about how I will and do watch anything that Joss Whedon is involved with. The creator of the glorious Buffy The Vampire Slayer television show and the criminally short-lived Firefly, I have rarely been disappointed with any of his output. Aaron Sorkin is another whose writing will get me to seek out a show, though not with the same acolyte like favour with which I approach a Whedon works.
After the dynamic Whiplash, I was eager to see Damien Chazelle’s follow up and La La Land did not disappoint so I look forward to his future works. Like most, I will either look for a subject matter of interest, recommendations from friends or, as a bit of a film fan, work by people who have impressed me before. It does not always work out well. I am quite the fan of David Fincher, director of Seven and most recently the excellent Gone Girl, but I could not get through Zodiac, especially as – spoiler alert – I realised there could be no resolution as, based on a true story, the serial killer had never been caught. An hour in I switched it off.
I also, like so many, love a Martin Scorsese film, but I have also been underwhelmed by some of his biggest hits and the slower paced, earnest efforts. There is a director working currently whose name on a film project guarantees my attention and that is Christopher Nolan. In tandem with his brother, Johnathan – who along with his wife, Lisa, created the unmissable Westworld television series – Christopher Nolan has brought not only some of the most watchable films to the big screen but also some of the most intelligent. Famed for the Dark Knight trilogy, he also made my favourite film of 2010 in the mind scrabbling Inception, the great, if mildly indulgent Interstellar and the staggeringly gripping The Prestige.
Nolan’s latest film, due for release in mid-July, is a film covering a dark period in British history. Set to be an epic retelling of the battle, Dunkirk will once again feature a stalwart of Nolan’s in Cillian Murphy, he of the haunting eyes. As is Nolan’s way, the scale looks grandiose, no doubting that the battle scenes will be full-on, visceral, heart-thumping depictions of the worse elements of war and battle. I am still not even slightly excited for this new film.
I have never been a fan of war films. I have yet to get through even the first hour of Apocalypse Now, Saving Private Ryan held no interest whatsoever for me, I watched Black Hawk Down on a recommendation and can only remember a lot of helicopters! War films really are not my thing. I have seen a few old classics; The Bridge On The River Kwai, The Great Escape, Full Metal Jacket, M.A.S.H, to name a few, but even the Midas touch of Tarantino failed to elicit a liking for war films, with Inglorious Basterds my least favourite of his films and I include the risible Deathproof in that.
I probably will succumb to the Nolan pull and end up seeing Dunkirk as I love his cinematic verve. I probably should get around to watching Apocalypse Now as it is considered the benchmark in war films. Maybe, hopefully, I’ll enjoy it.

No Damn Idea Why

The more I learn about filmmaking the less sure I am. I know that a good or excellent script is a basic requirement, it being the blueprint for any journey into filmmaking, but can any film lover honestly say they have not watched a film, with a less than stellar script, that has not only been enjoyable but become a hit? Conversely, I have seen brilliantly scripted films, with creditable performances, gain no traction whatsoever.
Of all film genres, it is possibly the rom-com that reflects this phenomenon the most. The boy-meets-girl, falls for her, loses her and wins her back again, is one of the most recognised storylines ever. Getting it right is still about more than a good script.
Pretty Woman, the film that catapulted Julia Roberts to superstardom and brought Richard Gere’s career out of the doldrums, was a standard Cinderella story elevated by the unexpected chemistry between the two leads and the then little known Roberts matching Gere’s ever committed performance.
Moreover, many a film, even with the proliferation of script doctors and story experts, still manage to make fundamental storytelling mistakes, the kind of errors that get fledgeling screenwriters works shoved straight into the reject pile at many a production company. Take the present fashion for superhero films. I love the Marvel films, kicking off with the little known Iron Man, they have grown into a juggernaut of a cinematic story-verse.
However, if you look at the stories that all of these heroes have been built around, with the exception of a few of the films – Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Avengers – though all of the films have good or adequate protagonists, the antagonist in a lot of the films have been weak and forgettable, with an emphasis on dramatic set pieces at the expense of plot and character development.
Obviously, in an established franchise or series, there is some leeway, the strength of the property allowing for a less than perfect script or story. Still, there are many examples where this is not the case, the classic Patrick Swayze film Dirty Dancing is one such film. The script of Dirty Dancing is poor. Fish-out-of-water meets have and have nots premise, Dirty Dancing is another film where the chemistry of the cast, plus the wholehearted commitment to the telling of the story elevates the film.
I suppose it is the collaborative nature, with so many having opinions, a persuasive individual with the ear of an influencer can get a weak script made, even if it is neither original – there are no original stories after all – or even being told in a different way. Sometimes things just get made. There is also no accounting for taste, with so many examples of films of the past being critical flops on release only to finding critical acclaim and cult followings later in life.
William Goldman, the legendary screenwriter of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Marathon Man and The Princess Bride said about filmmaking: nobody knows anything…not one person in the entire motion picture field knows for a certainty what’s going to work. Every time out it’s a guess, if you’re lucky, an educated one. This was a man who could write a screenplay.
It strikes me that one could and probably does waste a considerable amount of time learning to make films and write films, studying structure, theory, themes, character development and plotting, but still make a film that nobody wants to see. You could also strike gold and everybody might want to see your film, there is just no definitive correct way to make a film, no matter what all the film gurus and self-proclaimed doyens of cinema might have you believe.
The takeaway from this has to be to just do your own thing. Hopefully, someone will like it, if you’re lucky, loads of people might like it. After all, loads of people liked White Chicks, a film both brilliant and terrible. Go figure.

Black There, Not Here

There are terms and phrases that immediately conjure up certain images; period drama, western, sitcom, road trip movie, rom-com, these are all terms and genres that are easily identifiable and which one can think of fare that falls into each category.
Here in the United Kingdom, there is a rich history in film, television, theatre and music. In comedy, drama and serials, there has been a vast output of memorable films and television programmes. The likes of Doctor Who, Downton Abbey and even the comedy, Keeping Up Appearances, are worldwide successes. For such a small island and one that is somewhat set in its way, – more on that later – the United Kingdom manages to hold its own in the highly competitive visual media arena.
The English language being the dominant language of film is a big factor in that, with the top ten highest grossing films of all time all English language films. In the British media landscape, the same country that vocally defends its animal rights record, its lax border approach to immigration, its law enforcement without guns (a good thing) and the general fairness for which the British are famed for throughout the world, things are not as fair as one would like.
For a nation that prides itself on fairness, the image of the British around the world still is of an overwhelmingly white nation. Whereas in the States, a country that is routinely targeted for its lack of diversity and racial inequality, the programming reflects not only the country’s racial complexity but also the many stories and struggles that have faced the various communities, here in the U. K. one would never know that there was a diverse population by watching its television output.
As a British born, black person the scarcity of programmes with black people in them was always noticeable but never an issue as, like anybody, one gets use to what is normal, in this case, very few non-white television shows. The fact that most of the black programmes that were shown were American – The Cosby Show, Fresh Prince Of Bel Air, Different Strokes – one could not help but notice they were all comedies, perpetuating the long-held image of black people as grinning, jigging, entertainment. Alex Haley’s slave drama, Roots, was a big deal in the eighties amongst black people, a programme that showed a history, albeit an unsavoury one, and black people as more than caricatures. Of course, it was an American show.
Here, the paucity of black shows remains. There was a brief spate in the nineties – Desmond’s the standout amongst them – still, all were comedies. With the explosion of social media and every person able to venture an opinion and speak their mind – welcome to my blog! – issues of every ism – sex, race, gender – can be aired and debated. Any social issue can quickly become a cause, careers blighted by foolish utterances or proclamations in the social media world.
Such is the dearth of black shows in the U. K. many a black actor, much to the consternation of Samuel L. Jackson, moved to the States for work. With its rich history in television, featuring black ensemble shows since the seventies, as well as having black actors in a lot of their other shows. As well as television shows, there are also many black films of every genre, going back as far as the early nineteen hundreds, a truly rich history of black filmmaking.
Here in the U. K. even though black people have lived here since the seventeen hundreds, there has been very little television reflecting that with black British films so rare one could be forgiven for believing none were ever made. The few that have been made have not only been poorly marketed, a problem for a lot of British films but are so little known they even struggle to find a cult audience.
It was disappointing that Steve McQueen, the black British director, that when deciding to make a black film, starring the black British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, he elected to make an American story instead of a British one. The production money for 12 Years A Slave was predominantly American, so that may have been a factor, but if a respected director such as McQueen cannot get a British black story made, what Hope is there? The like of Amma Asante’s Belle got so little traction even as a historical, costumed drama, that one despairs of trying to get authentic black, British stories out. Still, I will keep writing until I find the right story to put out there. That’s what a writer does.

Know It’s Rubbish

With the proliferation of media channels available to an entertainment craven public, there is always a new show or film being made. A look at any of the media subscription services throws up a vast array of programmes and films, known and not so well known. Every genre is catered for, every conceivable taste covered, films that look like they cost one hundred thousand to make, to films that cost upwards of one hundred million and everything in between.
If like me, you take an interest in films, you no doubt have seen some of the many trailers that the array of YouTube film trailer channels shows. There is so much evidence of the old adage, ‘imitation is the sincerest form of flattery’, with any major blockbuster you may have seen in the past decade, pastiched with minor adjustments at a fraction of the cost and quality.
With the advancement of technology, the cost of equipment needed to get going has dropped to a level where even a spendthrift film student can scrape together enough money to create their own little film studio. A camera shooting in 4K can be bought for under a thousand pounds, Final Cut editing software is under three hundred, Da Vinci Resolve colour software is free! There are also free editing suites – Da Vinci again – that are more than capable of editing to a professional standard.
The rest is time and good people. Once you have a script and if you can get some actors – easiest part, though not if you want really good actors –  a camera person if you’re not doing it yourself, a good sound person – way more important than people realise – interesting locations and be organised, you can get a film made. There are a lot of poor looking films, judging by the trailers, that are being made annually. Stilted acting, bad dialogue, horrible shot selection and over eager action sequences. When I say poor, I do not mean visually, except from an editing and shot selection point of view perhaps, but aesthetically a lot of the films look great. As mentioned before, ever more available technology makes getting a good image, with a competent camera person and good post, a bare minimum.
Obviously, there is a market for these films, especially horror, as thousands are made every year and that’s just in the English language. The mind boggles at the thought of how many films must be being made in the African and Asian markets. This does not even take into account the many made for television movies and special occasion, Valentines, Easter, Christmas films that are made.
When one looks at the market like this, it is almost embarrassing to ask how do you break into film. There really are so many films being made. Obviously, many of us would like to believe that we have the talent and wherewithal to hold our own at the very top end of the creative markets, headhunted by Disney for the never ending Star Wars franchise or tapped up by Marvel to script one of their array of interesting characters, maybe get really lucky and be given free rein by HBO to create a television serial. It has to and does happen to somebody, so why not aim high?
Still, if one wants to get noticed, as opposed to waiting and wishing for one’s extraordinary talent to be discovered, would it not be better to make a film of some sort? If you make a film, as many have, you get to choose, within reason, the production values. A schlocky horror, a road movie, a picturesque romance, whatever you want to aim for, as long as you are surrounded by like-minded people, you can make the kind of fare you want to see.
It is so easy to look at the output of some and think that you would never do anything so poor or haphazard. As much as none of us wants to produce rubbish or embarrassing works, one still learns more by doing than studying. Go make something.

Writing Is Easy ​Until It’s Not

How do you measure productivity from a writing standpoint? If one is getting paid to write, I suspect payment and follow up offers of work would be a good barometer. What about the vast number of would-be scribes who are not employed to write – most of us – who write for the love, the practice and because you feel compelled to? How do you judge your output? Is a blog a day a lot? Not nearly enough, if one has delusions of being a writer of any note? Or is it all just procrastination, a way of avoiding the actual kind of writing – scripts, plays, books – that one ought to be focusing on?
It is probably, depending on why you write, all of the above and a bit more. In the world of blogging, I suspect there are as many reasons as there are bloggers. Not every blogger wants to be a writer, even if by blogging they inadvertently become one. Some are more sporadic than others, writing more streams of consciousness than subject focused blogs. There are many a diarist as well. For these types of bloggers, I suppose the volume of output is not especially relevant. If you’re just emptying your head, twenty words might work one day and two thousand the next.
Approaching it as a discipline, a task that must be done daily, as I do, it takes on a different significance. I like to try and write at least six hundred and fifty words, that is my minimum requirement. I have occasionally gotten really into a flow and ended up nearer a thousand, but the six fifty mark is my benchmark. It is an arbitrary figure with no reasoning behind it except that most of my blogs tend to run about that length.
With something like a script, it is much harder to quantify what constitutes a good daily output. Depending on the scene, with a rough guide of a page being one minute of screen time, two pages can feel like an absolute triumph. Because of the specificity of a script, or any kind of storytelling, you cannot, generally, just write and hope. Story structure dictates that there must be some purpose to each and every paragraph or direction.
Writing opinion is relatively easy in comparison to storytelling. In that way, blogging is definitely my procrastination, as it is more a conversation written down than a structured piece of writing. It is definitely a good practice, forcing me to come up with stuff to write about that is related to the blog’s title subject matter. I still know that I am just avoiding – delaying – tackling several works that would be closer and more beneficial to my goal of becoming a screenwriter and filmmaker.
The thing with writing as a profession, as opposed to blogging, is you have to get it right. With a blog, regardless of your following, you can write whatever you feel like and get it out there, no filters, no edits – though of course I do edits and proofread, still end up missing stuff! – no rigid structure. People will read it or not, but it will still be, in effect, published. If one wants to get paid for one’s writing, not only should it adhere to recognisable structure, but it has to be good, better than what a potential reader could write and entertaining enough for the prospective employer’s audience to want to read.
The initial question of productivity is not so relevant when viewed in the context of who the output is for and to what end. Writing regularly

Writing regularly every day is a good and necessary practice. Whether it the right approach for what one might one to achieve is down to the individual. For myself, the gnawing feeling of not doing the right sort of writing – both book and screenplays remain in limbo – is enough to tell me that it is, in a roundabout way, the best approach for me at this time. Hopefully, I am pretty sure it will manifest in a sudden urge to write one of those long waiting works.

To Get It, Write.

Every writer does rewrites or drafts, especially screenwriters. I do not think any screenwriter every did a McCartney and smashed out a perfect first draft after the initial idea. Just getting the first draft on paper is enough of an achievement, without the pressure of getting it right at the first time of asking. The writing of a screenplay is a write-and-repeat process, hopefully, improving and refining the work as you do so.
You have written your umpteenth draft, no typos or waffle, every scene working and seamlessly flowing into the next. You know the characters and can see them, their actions, their emotions, their motives. The exposition is organic, no forced or unnecessary characters randomly popping up to explain bits of the plot. Your script is tight. You send it out and get feedback; it’s good but… you tweak, edit, write some more, get more feedback. Hmm…I like it but…
I have said before that it will ultimately be up to you to decide whether your work is ready or not. There will always be differing opinions, those who feel you could have approached the subject differently, but in the end, it has to be your voice, your words, your decision. That being said, sometimes you are forced to heed the obvious message that the ‘yeah, I like it but’ is telling you, especially when it is coming repeatedly. Something is not working.
When a screenplay is not working on a fundamental level; the story is not engaging, perhaps a character does not work or belong, maybe the first act is weak, something is definitely askew. It needs a rewrite, no tweaking, no minor changes, a tear-up-the-script-and-start-again rewrite. I have gotten to that stage with a script I have been writing for a few years now. It needs a rewrite of surgical proportions, the ‘buts’ and ‘ums’ tell me that.
When you’ve written a script, one you’ve really invested in, you have come up with a story that you believe is worth writing and seeing, so much so you write it and rewrite it almost without a break, only to belatedly realise that as compelling as your premise is, your execution leaves a lot to be desired. That is a hard place to be in. You have already played the episode or film in your mind, heard the dialogue and seen the reactions. Now you have to forget all of that and create new images, whilst still retaining the same premise.
I suppose it is the ego that suffers the most, the realisation that the story you fashioned for the purpose of expressing your premise is not very good. It is a hard truth to follow, especially when your log line, premise, has proved quite compelling. It can and does hit at the core of you as a writer, great ideas or premises are not exactly rare, the great execution of either is though. Life is full of people who have great stories that have never been told and great ideas that have never been fulfilled, so to have made the effort to complete an idea only for it to ultimately be subpar, is demoralising.
It is a good thing I suppose, as it helps to keep one grounded – a few of Hollywood’s finest could do with such grounding. Believing in one’s own brilliance can create a sense of entitlement that no writer should fall prey to. I feel every writer needs a degree of fear and uncertainty, it helps to keep the creative juices keen, fires the synapses. As much as you need to be confident in the idea or premise, it is the uncertainty that keeps you exploring, looking for different scenarios and story angles. It keeps you asking the necessary questions, the questions that spark, perhaps, that little moment where the story comes together and you are smiling as you’re writing excitedly. For those moments of flow, being in the zone, the temporary mental anguish is worth it.

Listening To Everybody

There will always be some doubt. That is the nature of any creative undertaking, the overall idea or goal to be achieved might be, usually is, known, but the route to getting to that point is fraught with possibilities and decisions. This is especially true when fashioning a story, book or script. I suppose, like for many a would-be scribe, I start writing a story entirely for myself. There is no thought of what a future audience might make of it.
With a collaborative medium like film, the writing of the story or script is the starting point, the first input. So even though you start off writing for an audience of one, with the opinions, feedback and input garnered moving forward with any project, it quickly becomes a group endeavour. It still starts with the writing and your vision of what should happen.
The issue with a script especially is it is not an exact science. As much as the internet and bookstores have vast – truly vast – amounts of information devoted to the craft of screenwriting; how to write, structure, tropes, character development, loglines, theme and any other thing that you can think of related to screenwriting, there is still no definitive way to approach a script.
We have all heard about Tom Hanks’ “grab me in the first ten pages” approach to scripts, this quote spread like wildfire and every other script opened with some explosive happening, just to grab the readers/audiences attention. Not that it meant that it created a good script, but what an opening!
There is Joseph Campbell’s the hero’s journey, an extremely popular story guide that can act as a simple blueprint for most stories. The is John Truby’s complex and intricate approach to screenwriting, the late Blake Snyder’s near omnipresent guide to how to plot a script, Syd Field’s sage words and many more, reinforcing, confusing or contradicting, the desperate, fledgling screenwriter, with them purchasing books, downloading PDFs, signing up to newsletters and attending seminars in the hope of finding that thing, the answer that will point them in the direction of story or script nirvana.
You bite the bullet, grab the bull by the horns and write. It’s not great, but you keep going. Practice, more writing, rewrites, character changes, adding and losing scenes, you get better, you understand and can see the faults in your work faster, more clearly. There is no absolute with scripts. Another popular piece of advice that did the rounds for as long as I can remember is to never use voiceovers. It’s a cheap trick and lazy exposition. That is utter bollocks, of course, exposition can be lazy even without the help of a voiceover. There was a certain successful television show, set on the fictional Wisteria Lane, that employed voiceover to great effect, as did another well-received show featuring a serial killing blood specialist.
As you write more and know more, you will have a few trusted voices, people who you send your stuff to. There is, if they are the right people, always feedback, good and bad. The hardest feedback is when the work is liked but not quite right. ‘Not quite right’ is far harder to work with than ‘this does not work.’ If you are told that, for whatever reason, something does not work, unless it is just a feeling – no help at all – you can rewrite something that does not work, especially if you get the ‘why’ it does not work. With a vague ‘something is not right’, an element they cannot pinpoint, it becomes much harder.
If writing for somebody else, so not the filmmaker yourself, feedback becomes much more critical, as you are trying to work to someone else’s vision. When writing to make a project yourself, the decision for when the script is ready is solely your own. If you believe you know how a scene is going to play out or why a scene should be where it is, you just have to trust yourself. There will always be naysayers, but ultimately the vision and final say is yours.