Script Writing

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    Bonjour everybody, so I really love theatre… I mean, aside from the fact that you’re making yourself vulnerable for people to see and criticize and have to remember lines, it’s like living in an entirely different world and being an entirely different person!!

    I’m also a person who gets smacked with new and enticing plot bunnies about once or twice a week when I’m trying to go to bed, and sometimes one is especially tantalizing. But since I have absolutely no time or energy most days to chase it down and record it in a novel/novella form, I don’t follow these lovely fluffy creations to wherever the hop off to.

    About a couple months or so ago, I got smacked with a really interesting story idea, followed it a few scenes through in my head and then ranted it out to a fellow theatre geek and decided it might make a great stage script. Well, about 35 pages later (literal pen and paper pages later), I have realized that I know nothing about writing a gripping script! I wondered if anybody on here might know a thing or two about the process, so here we are. This is the time and the place for any theatre peeps to spill their knowledge nuggets. 😉

    Thank you!

    Au revoir!

    Tek an ohta! Tek an cala!

    Naiya Dyani

    *shows up with Starbucks two weeks late* Heh, what’s up

    Ok so I am NOT an expert at this by any means, but I recently wrote a screenplay for my music teacher, so I have the experience of one (1) script? I’ll do my best here XD

    The biggest thing I learned was that in anything visual like screenplays or theater, since you have only dialogue to work with in the way of words, you really have to make actions speak louder than words more than ever. And you have to make what words you do have count. Let me see if I can find a few ways I made this happen in my newbie script. . .

    Ok so my screenplay was about a girl in a Christian school trying to figure out what to do in the conflict surrounding a new Muslim student in her school. Here are a few things I did to attempt to show instead of tell in the story:

    • I make use of the setting to convey information, in my case to make it obvious that it’s a Christian school–indicated in brackets that the walls are decorated with crosses, Bible verses, etc. It’s mentioned a few lines down as a natural part of conversation, but it makes it clear from the get-go.
    • I made sure to add any body language directions for the actors in brackets to make it clear what the character is feeling that the dialogue alone might not indicate.
    • I hinted at one or two things that the fullness of was revealed later. E.g., the main character, Brianna, had a big issue with the school the year before because some girls accused her falsely of selling or owning drugs (which one it is is never stated). This isn’t brought up until this line closer to the end (spoken by a girl who is harassing Amara, the Muslim student): “If you can’t even handle pork, you really don’t want to mess with her. She has. . . special chemicals in her backpack.” This is elaborated on more a little further down as Brianna is arguing with her friend over the situation, and the friend says “You can’t compare this to the whole drug thing last year. That was a complete setup, and they were trying to get you in trouble with the school.”Another instance of this was a suggestion of my teacher’s, involving this exchange between Brianna and her friend Sophia:

      SOPHIA: They’re not messing with her that much, and besides–she doesn’t believe in Jesus, Brianna.
      BRIANNA: [pauses] Neither does your brother.
      SOPHIA: [stiffens] That’s different.
      BRIANNA: It’s really not. [takes a deep breath with an air of decision] I can’t leave her with those two on her own. Just go to the theater without me.

      It conveys a pivotal issue in just a few words, and less is more in scripts (or at least screenplays. I’m just giving what I learned from writing a single screenplay lol XD).

      Finally, in characterizing Amara, I used solely visuals to indicate part of her loneliness at school. Throughout the screenplay, she’s seen with a sketchbook, and when it’s first shown, she’s sketching herself with a friend with undefined features. This shows without words that she’s desperate for a friend. At the end of the story, after Brianna stands up to the bullies and extends her friendship, Amara adds a defining feature of Brianna’s appearance (such as a distinctive hairstyle or piece of jewelry) to her sketch.

    NOW, all this is my limited experience with a single screenplay that I wrote in the form of a theatre script (I left all the fancy camera notes and whatever to my teacher who actually knows how to do this stuff XD). But I hope some of that helped!

    • This reply was modified 10 months, 2 weeks ago by Naiya Dyani.
    • This reply was modified 10 months, 2 weeks ago by Naiya Dyani.
    • This reply was modified 10 months, 2 weeks ago by Naiya Dyani.

    Hearts are like matter--they can be beaten down, torn, and burned, but they cannot be destroyed.

    Naiya Dyani

    @ericawordsmith whoops, forgot to tag you XD I had a few snippets of advice for writing scripts up there lol

    Hearts are like matter--they can be beaten down, torn, and burned, but they cannot be destroyed.

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