Friday, February 4, 2011

The Secrets of Scriptwriting

A brief section from Dr. Herpetophilius's post on the relationship between prose and scriptwriting.

I have sold cartoon scripts that were broadcast on BBC and the Warner Brothers’ website. It takes me twice as long to write a page of script as a page of prose. Which means I spend about eight times as much effort on a word of script as a word of prose. If fewer words meant easier work, then poetry would be the easiest thing in the world to write. It ain’t. It’s the hardest. Get me?

Now for the good stuff.

Scenes are one of the basic units of dramatic fiction – a story is made up of a series of scenes, and in fact a scene is a small story in itself, with a beginning, middle, end, and central conflict. However, many times writers will use exposition in place of scenes. By this I mean that instead of a fully-described set of actions occurring in a fully-described setting, we are given a synopsis of the events in question –

The Detective rubbed his chin and gazed into the gas jets of the fake fireplace. “So, how did you come to realize that someone had modified the scrimshaw work on your sister’s false leg?” (scene)

The Lawyer’s reply was halting and difficult to understand. (exposition)

For the full post, click here.

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