Dispatches from Suburbia

If I played an instrument, I would have a band called "The Simon Thomsen Sex Tape"; and other musings, rants, and disconnected ramblings.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Simon's Lessons in Scriptwriting, Part I

"The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder."
--Alfred Hitchcock

Our television script finally got a table reading this weeking. While the feedback, overall, was extremely positive, we did receive some helpful advice.

We've been relentlessly pursuing the completion of this piece, working nonstop to make it as powerful as possible. Consequently, the four of us were drunk off of the script, and therefore, before we went any further, needed outside opinion.

So what have we learned? In screenwriting, one must train himself to portray a narrative through images. This means, basically, get to the point and move on to the next scene. Brevity is an absolute must.

We had a scene in which Jonah, the janitor character, chooses to pick up drug dealing. He and his pregnant girlfriend, Denise, are in their little, cheap apartment, and they discuss their money situation. She reveals that they've received an eviction notice, so Jonah goes out to his car and calls his drug connection.

We unnecessarily loaded this scene with dialogue and far to much description and action, when it needed none of that. The scene went on for far too long. All we had to establish was: 1. Jonah and Denise need money, and 2. Jonah chooses to deal dope.

Easy, right? I don't understand how we could've missed that. I suppose that is the beauty of the writing workshop.

The point of my story is this: Embrace brevity. This works not just in scriptwriting, but any type of writing. Hemingway knew this. Even in everyday conversation, brevity helps, because nobody likes a person that talks too much. And with that, I'm signing off.


At 11:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I felt this post could have been just a little bit tighter.

At 12:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Brevity is the soul of Wit". W. Shakespeare

Thanks for stopping by! Nice Blog.

At 12:09 PM, Blogger Bird on a Wire said...

Matt-Ok, you got me there. I'm really struggling to do the "one post per day" thing, so forgive me if they need a little work.

At 7:31 AM, Blogger JR's Thumbprints said...

I believe Matt was joking with you. As for script writing, the movement of the scenes is also crucial. Let me know when you're successful, I have a few short stories ready for adaptation.

At 7:57 AM, Blogger Bird on a Wire said...

Oh, man, now I feel like a total imbecile. I get it! Very funny, Matt. God, I'm slow sometimes.

At 7:50 PM, Blogger Erik Donald France said...

Good posts, Simon. I always thought it was Oscar Wilde who quipped about brevity. Then again, I thought Gore Vidal started "no good deed goes unpunished."


Post a Comment

<< Home