Then I read the thing.
"WHAT IS THIS CRAP?" Suddenly clouds cover the sun and the Buick breaks down on the side of the road. "What happened to the life changing piece of art I finished writing only a week ago? Why is everything so boring? I completely forgot about this character! How did I miss this GIGANTIC plot hole? Wow, I suck."
At that point I often fall into one of three traps:
1) Convince myself it really is wonderful and that I simply need to make a couple minor grammar tweaks; make those tweaks and call the thing done(ish). After all, I loved it for a reason, right? It must be mostly brilliant. I'm probably being too hard on myself.
2) Scrap the whole darn thing. Accept the fact that I ruined the project and it is beyond saving.
3) Rewrite, and rewrite, and rewrite, and rewrite, and rewrite, and rewrite, and rewrite, and rewrite, and rewrite, et. until it no longer resembles anything close to the initial pitch and still has the same structural, thematic, or character problems the first draft had.
I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in this. At least I hope I'm not. If you've ever been in the same place as me, perhaps these words will give you some confidence.
First drafts will never be brilliant. They're first drafts. They should, however, show the potential for brilliance. More than likely, I totally nailed at least one thing I was going for. (You probably did too!) The truth of the matter is rewrites are completely, 100% necessary to the screenwriting process but (and here's the kicker) I will never be far enough removed from my work to rewrite with purpose. And purpose is the main thing a rewrite needs to have.
How do you find a purpose for your rewrite? Notes, my friend. Get notes.