Actually not a last minutes piece of cramming akin to the week before your dissertation deadline. The Warehouse was in fact plotted and developed extensively over six months but a la Mike Leigh we wanted significant actor input, particularly in terms of dialogue. In the end we didn’t exactly manage a Mike Leigh style approach given the demands of a pressing timetable, relenting to ultimately write a script ahead of rehearsals.
We did however, manage a reasonable impersonation in some aspects with much input from the cast resulting from a reasonable length rehearsal period (very recommended). However, the tight deadline for the availability of the key location and the lack of any meaningful pre-production budget (£200 if you please) meant there was insufficient time for the vast amount of improvisation and work-shopping our initial plan would have required.
In a reduced way we still managed to morph, amend and generally improve the script thanks to the actors input into the process. Form a Writer-Director point of view hearing things out loud can be invaluable and saves some blushes when you hear some of you crummier efforts spoken.
We are no experts in the best way to develop a script, but for us, dialogue benefits from a bit of breathing space. I also feel there is a point, fairly early on when an actor’s appreciation of their characters exceeds that of your own – it has too really. In light of this it would be remiss not to listen to what they have to say.