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.

February 28, 2017

The British comedy Catastrophe was a joy to read. It's an irreverent, sarcastic, anti-romance romantic comedy. The basic premise is that after a week's fling in London, Sharon and Rob go their separate ways. She returns to her life as an elementary school teach...

February 21, 2017

I'm obviously a fan of David E. Kelley's work, and I was quite excited to get my hands on the Big Little Lies pilot. It is an adaptation of the book by Liane Moriarty, who I was surprised to see was not credited on (at least this version of) the script itself....

February 14, 2017

There's an old saying that there are three versions of every story - his, hers, and the truth - and this was exemplified in The Affair. Both Noah and Allison showcased themselves as the hero and the victim; in their version, each was the one who saved Stacey and ea...

February 7, 2017

Ally McBeal is, without a doubt, one of the best scripts I've ever read. The language is immediately evocative and even the flashes/hallucinations/imaginings of Ally's mind, like arrows hitting Billy or Elaine's head growing, can be easily pictured.

February 1, 2017

For February, I decided to concentrate on pilots that launched successful television shows.

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