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.

November 28, 2017

Labor Day features an ensemble of six characters, simply named One through Six, who are having a Labor Day party on the eve of the holiday. They're all dressed in white, the furnishings and decorations are white, even the food is white. Throughout the piece they pl...

November 21, 2017

What Are You Afraid Of? takes place in a car. The actors are in the front seat, and the audience sits in the back. The script notes that the car never leaves the curb, but there was at least one production in Germany where the actors drove through the streets with thei...

November 14, 2017

When I decided to take a look at Martin's Tattoo, I never expected to stumble upon one of the greatest pseudonym mysteries in theatre today. Jane Martin doesn't exist, and no one knows, for sure, who is behind her works. This is especially astonishing consideri...

November 7, 2017

After is a two-hander between Glynda, a fairy and tour guide, and Cindy, a human who has run away from her tour bus. It opens with high stakes as an unseen tour bus driver screams to catch an escapee as she is entering an off limit area. From there, the stakes continue...

September 26, 2017

It seems A History of Paper is a completely different animal. Here the focus is on the words, the story. While there were hints of sound throughout, they were in support of the story and, I imagine, would not be at all distracting. I found the script a very interesting...

September 19, 2017

Chuck Mee's plays are in your face. He refers to them as visual collages featuring contrasting scenes around a central theme. In The Mail Order Bride, as in in many of his works, that theme is love. Like all of his work, he borrows from and is influenced by earlier...

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