would you mind posting a scene from GMGS in script form, prior to its being cut down? I completely understand if you donít want to reveal your cards / take off your clothes in public. It'd be illuminating, though.
I'd be happy to show an example. As I was reading over the GMGS script again, I was a little surprised at first, at how little was really cut from it, and started thinking that maybe I was projecting my experiences with my recent writing back onto this, but then I came to the following scene and thought it's a very good example of the kind of cutting-down I was talking about. Some of the cutting down came as we found the location (only two days before shooting the scene), some ideas came while we were shooting the scene that is directly prior to this, and some came on set.
8 INT. CHURCH - SMALL ROOM
Dark. Arvid is hiding in a corner, behind his mom, holding her hand, looking towards a table where somebody is blocking Arvidís view of a white-clad figure that lies on it, seeming to adjust itís clothes. He canít see the face. Until the person steps aside, and we see a pale woman, identical with his mother, surrounded by flowers, with her mouth open and lifeless.
Somebody speaks mundanely about funeral preparations.
Arvidís father leans down to his face.
Come, Arvid, letís look at your auntie.
He takes Arvid in his arms and carries him over to the corpse.
Arvid stiffens and fights slightly against it.
Look how calm she is.
Arvid turns his body and face away from his aunt.
...but itís not dangerous. Look. Look how calm she is.
We hear sounds of scratching that we donít yet understand the source of, as Arvid looks towards the door and his aunt lies white behind him.
This one was maybe the scene I was most unsure of how to do before we came on set, since the way this scene is written demands many set-ups, as we follow Arvid and his eyes around the room.
When we were preparing to shoot the scene, I felt the drama between Arvid and his dad was a little too tightened, that the father was too pushy in the script, so that was toned down to the bare essentials (it was all in there in their body language anyways). I had also failed to imagine exactly how large eight year olds are (and add to that the fact that we cast a ten year old), so suddenly it seemed very implausible that the father would pick him up and that was axed (but no big loss).
"Somebody speaks mundanely about funeral preparations" became a wonderfully half-improvised bit when we gave the task to a person who actually works at this place, with corpses. That bit about "she looks like she's sleeping on the couch" came from her, as something she'd actually say in a situation like this, as well as the technical details about the "death stiffness receding".
One of the core ideas of the scene preceding this one, was that Arvid's movement is stilled by the father, and when were were on set it suddenly seemed obvious that everything needed to be simplified, and for that complete stillness to continue over from the previous scene, keeping everything in one long shot. So Arvid's direct POVs were discarded, in favor of an "emotional POV" (like putting him out of focus in the back of the shot, the cutting off of the heads of the adults, and the overall atmosphere). The last addition was the father tightening his fist over Arvid's sweather.
So, calling it over-writing might be exaggerating, but this kind of paring down happens all the time in different forms.
EDIT: I think this is all because I've yet to develop an instinct for how much is really enough to get an idea across, and in the writing I always have a slight paranoia, that diminishes more and more as the shoot progresses and I realise what I we have and how much is really there in the images.
I'd love to read what you're writing! PM if you want.