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Screenplays and Description

I realized I was wrestling with where to place the descriptions of Jokertown in the Wild Card screenplay I’m writing.  In a book it’s fairly easy (though tedious, I hate to write description), but in a screenplay I need to tell the readers what they will be seeing, and tell the set designers what they have to build, and the costumers designers what they have to sew, and the effect guys what they have to provide.

And somehow all of this can”t be allowed to slow down the reading process.  The script needs to just flow.

Once it’s filmed, it’s easy.  Camera is on our hero as he emerges from the subway station, and all around him and behind him is Jokertown and various extras in costume, etc.

But I have an added problem because hero emerges to see something happening that requires his immediate attention.  I need to stay with hero as he deals with that.  I can’t hold in the middle of the action to offer a 360 look around of his surroundings.  If I do that the momentum dies, and a reader is confused.

So I opted to wait until the crises was almost resolved before I began to hint at his surroundings — the gawking crowds on the sidewalk.  Then as hero is moving toward his destination I can feather in more description, the mask and cloak shops, the tourists, the Jokertown Dime Museum.

I love to write scripts, but it really is a high wire act.  You have to write a document that someone will read, but will still give them a mental picture.  Enable them to play a movie in their head.  Which is why the action (description) has to be evocative, but quick, and the dialog has to do most of the heavy lifting.

It’s challenging.

0 Responses to Screenplays and Description

  • Melindas says:

    I discovered an awesome typo in my post. I had the costumers needing to know what to sex rather than what to [u]sew[/u] I have really stupid clumsy fingers, and lazy eyes, that see what they expect to see rather than what is actually there. *sigh*

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