Lessons Learned #18

Berry on Hand_e

This week I learned more about scriptwriting for the screen. As you may have read on Monday, I woke up at 4am that day and had this funny/horror short on my mind. It’s called ‘You Should Have,’ and can be found under the ‘My Short Stories’ heading at the top of my page. As I thought it would be an easy one to film, with my film group, I wrote it as a writer/director and included camera angles. I put in ‘angled’ and ‘from the side’ and ‘wide view.’

I happen to have chatted with a nice guy I met on FARG this week, named J.W. Wood, who also does some screenwriting. He lives all the way in Las Vegas, USA (not sure if there are any other Las Vegasses), but the world is a small place nowadays. He was so kind to send me one of his older scripts he had written for a competition. I noticed that he put in different kind of camera directions. He used ‘fade in,’ ‘transition to,’ ‘p.o.v’ and ‘o.s.’ I had never heard of o.s. and I am assuming that it stands for ‘overhead/overheard sound.’ I have this book ‘The Complete Book of Scriptwriting’ by J.Michael Straczynski, but it doesn’t tell you what abbreviations are used (mind you, I haven’t finished reading it). J.W. advised me to buy another book, ‘The Screenwriter’s Bible’ by David Trotter, which I did. I haven’t got it yet, but I hope it has more basic stuff in it than in Straczynski’s book.

The biggest thing I learned though, was when J.W. reminded me that screen writing is action and dialogue only. No wishy-washy text about how people are feeling or the likes. That is so different from novel writing. Novel writing is all about emotion and feelings. It’s what attracts people to read it. With screenwriting you have to convey that emotion with only your dialogue and the actions of the actors. It’s like trying to dish up a five-course gourmet meal with only apples and bananas. I have a new respect for screenwriters!

Have a Happy Writing Weekend!

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