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...

December 12, 2017

Instead of a more traditional bible, the pitch document for New Girl looks more like working notes or a a script for a live pitch. I'm basing that assumption on its format as the document simply isn't laid out in a way that makes it easy to read. While the orde...

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...

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