A Simple, But Important Note About Scriptwriting

Last week, on May 2nd, John August and Craig Mazin read some scripts as part of the Three Page Challenge. Their critiques give writers a good example of how to write and how to write well, touching on language usage, script format, dialogue, and description.

The first script, which is action based, is worthy of note. Craig comments on the choices that are made:

“There’s a choice that’s made here. There are times when  your action-description wants to be a character of itself and there are times when you want to impart things to your reader quickly and efficiently so they kind of get it”

Craig goes on to analyze the description of the introduction. It is here that he finds a problem: the author threw in statements that boil down to a pitch of the film.

“That’s not what screenplays do. So much of what we want when we read a screenplay is to discover; and I understand at some point you may need to clarify. First just lay it on me, and then let me discover it.”

This is an important point when it comes to writing. So many writers, especially young writers, feel the need to justify and explain themselves in the action and description instead of letting the story play and explain itself. To all the writers who ever bother to read this, please, do yourself a favor: just write the story. Don’t worry about explaining and justification, if you do your job, everything will become clear, or at least, give readers more questions that pull them further into the narrative than push them away. Just write, that’s all you have to do.

 

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