The Words on the Page

Writing for film, television, and the stage is, in my opinion, one of the most difficult - and most rewarding - art forms. The language needs to be visual and evocative as each script must achieve two important tasks. First, it must be an easy read. On paper, it should tell a compelling story and flow as easily as a novel as, if it doesn't past the first test of being read and enjoyed, it will never amount to anything more than a pile of pages in a drawer. But being an easy read isn't enough. Scripts also have to serve as a blueprint for the finished product and need to tell the story in a manner that allows the reader to picture it in his or her mind's eye. The characters need to be memorable and leap off the page; the story must come to life.

 

In addition to writing scripts of their own, I believe all writers can learn and benefit from studying scripts that have launched successful movies, television shows, and plays. For the next year, on each Tuesday, I'll be posting my thoughts on a piece.

January 2, 2018

Elf is a movie about the magic of Christmas and, right from the beginning, Berenbaum infuses magic into his script. Bookended by, well, a book, Berenbaum specifies that this book magically opens and closes itself. In a sense, no one is telling this story - it is just h...

August 29, 2017

Black Swan is another film in which my recollection barely scratched the surface of the story...

August 8, 2017

Growing up, The Sixth Sense was one of the first films that really blew my mind. A true psychological drama, I got caught up in all the twists and turns and did not see the mind-bending end coming. It was a delight to watch, and I was curious to see how it read on the...

August 1, 2017

Although I said I was reading psychological dramas and thrillers this month, I would definitely classify Se7en as a crime drama. To me, a psychological storyline, whether skewing toward drama or thriller, must emphasize the unstable psychological state or psychological...

June 13, 2017

Seven Psychopaths, which McDonagh both wrote and directed, is a twisty black comedy where nothing's as it seems. Misdirections start early as, in the opening action, we're told, "At some point in their conversation, an inconsequential FIGURE from the dista...

May 30, 2017

Nancy Meyers is a master of romantic comedy, and It's Complicated is no exception. A movie about a divorced couple in their 50s who fall into an affair at their son's college graduation, it's filled with twists and turns, and it kept me giggling throughout...

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