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 31, 2017

The pilot of Revenge quickly lays a lot of pipe. The lead has dual identities, a lot of characters are introduced, and flashbacks and multiple storylines are often utilized. In a lesser writer's hands, this would risk confusion, but Kelley makes a lot of smart choi...

January 24, 2017

The first element of It Happened One Night that really captured me was the set up of Ellie, the movie's feisty female protagonist. A ship full of sailors is frightened of her, all refusing to bring her a meal as she's thrown ketchup bottles at and otherwise pre...

January 17, 2017

The Great Indoors is a fun, workplace sitcom about an adventure reporter who is forced to manage a group of digital-obsessed millennials who have never explored the great outdoors. The irony in the premise alone made me want to check out this show, and I found the scri...

January 10, 2017

Linguistically, The Demolition Downtown is a fascinating study. Williams writes in a staccato rhythm, with the characters, characters who have a long history and know each other well, often not completing their sentences

January 3, 2017

The Big Bang Theory is sort of a unicorn in the writing world. It's held up time and time again as the little show that could, a piece whose initial pilot was rejected but was reworked and given a first-season order.

January 1, 2017

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...

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