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.

June 27, 2017

This week I read Elizabeth Meriwether's pilot for her hit TV show New Girl. Originally titled Chicks and Dicks, it's a quirky comedy that pairs awkward, off-beat Jess with three male roommates. Although all have just met in the pilot, their friendship and care...

June 20, 2017

While 90 Days has two characters, Elliot and Abby, we never see Abby. She's on speaker phone. We're left to construct her for ourselves, based on her words and, in a production, her voice. We'd probably also be able to extrapolate based on Elliot's appe...

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...

June 6, 2017

Martin McDonagh is an Irish playwright known for his edgy, original voice and film noir-esque style. Most of his plays are set in Ireland and A Behanding in Spokane is, in fact, his first play set in America. The story centers on two out-of-their-league con artists try...

June 1, 2017

Many writers work in multiple mediums, but there are differences in writing for film, television, and the theater. This month I decided to explore the work of two writers who have written for both the stage and screen and compare and contrast their work in the differen...

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