The Journey of a Play – Proofing

Only a couple of videos left in this series! Here I talk about the proofing process.


Watch Craig turn a word document into a Publisher Proof! Oooooooooooh!


Welcome to the Journey of a Play. And what you are looking at here is the literal, the actual, journey of a play. That play being of course, SOMEWHERE, NOWHERE.

From the very first scribbles, first scribbles, first ideas in a notebook, to the first draft with a gazillion notes, and actually a different title. To more notes, and more notes, to another draft, and a pre-production draft, and a post-production draft, and we’re getting closer and closer. And then we get to our publishers proof, which looks like it’s almost ready to be published.

Until we get to the pretty purple finished published play. Now we’re going to back up a little bit, we’ll show the actual printing process for how we get this beautiful lovely purple package in another video. What I want to talk about is proofing.

So this here, this is a publishers proof. And what that means is that once the content for a script is done, and completed and all good, then it goes from this which is a plain old word document into our fancy smancy desk top publishing program. So that we can get it on the page to look how we want it to look for when it is published.

That means it’s ready for the final step. Once we put it in the program, it’s ready for the final step of proofing. Proofing is when you look through a script line by line for errors, mistakes, there’s a really good one in here where I had changed the name of the paper from Beagle to Beacon. You’re looking for the teeny tiny things. This is a stage direction and it’s not formatted properly. It’s supposed to look like that. Looking for missing words, that happens all the time. When you’re so close to a script, it’s really easy to miss a word. You know what’s supposed to be there, and your brain tells you what’s supposed to be there. So it’s easy to miss.

Proofing by far is the most important and the hardest part of the whole process. Because, you know, mistakes make a book look bad. Unprofessional. We want our plays to be as comprehensive and easy to read as possible.

So to that end both Craig and I proof each script at least twice. And on SOMEWHERE, NOWHERE and we had an outside eye, a third reader go thorugh it. When I proof a play I go through it backwards. So I’ll start in this one FROM FRYING PAN TO FRYING, I’ll start at the back of the play and I’ll go through it like this. Each sentence backwards. Because that way I’m not looking at the content. I’m not reading the play. I’m looking for errors and mistakes, and spaces and missing words. That’s really the easiest way to do it. And it’s a really great trick if you need to proof something. Don’t read it forward, read it backwards and anything that’s not supposed to be there will be completely illuminated.

So the next time on the Journey of a Play, we’re nearing the end here, we’re getting into the printing process. How does this comes into being. You’ll be amazed at how many steps it takes to make this little book. That’s it for now. Bye bye!

About the author

Lindsay Price