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.

December 26, 2017

The pitch for Grey's Anatomy was released as part of Shonda Rhimes' Masterclass in television writing. She positioned it as her working notes, which she claims to have essentially read from word for word for her verbal pitch, but the document itself is well lai...

December 19, 2017

That's right. Lost, the poster show for serialized drama, was pitched as entirely episodic. The series format (or overview) that I looked it is what is more commonly referred to as the series document - an informal document written after the pilot episode has been...

December 5, 2017

The flow of the story bible is easy to follow and, after a brief pitch, the Duffer brothers capture my attention by dedicating a page to the real-life history of The Montauk Project and the experiments that many claim happened on this Long Island base. By the time they...

October 24, 2017

The creators of Combat Hospital knew that the world would be foreign to their readers. Between the title page and the first actual page of the pilot script, two pages of diagrams were inserted. The first depicts the overall layout, including the locations of the runway...

October 17, 2017

As Off The Map took place in an isolated clinic in a third world country, I was really interested to study the impact of its setting. While the landscape was described as beautiful, it also contributed to the potential ailments the doctors had to battle as it contained...

October 10, 2017

Royal Pains premiered on USA Network in June of 2009 and ran for 104 episodes over the course of 8 seasons. While definitely a drama, it was know for its light tone and comedic elements. Here, travesties weren't always life and death. An emergency could be as simpl...

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