Second Blog- Screenplays

Sorry I have been absent from the blog for a while! I was having some serious writes block and could not decide what to focus my next piece on. Since this is for a grade it’s time to hop to.

I’ve always been interested in acting, particularly films. I decided to look into how screen plays are written and edited. By just googling screenplay editing I got a lot of hits on services and freelancers that will edit a screen play you’ve written. One service I found charged two dollars a page and included in their services “revising sentences and rambling dialogue” and “cutting some scenes if they do not serve the plot”. It expressed that they would not comment on script or story premise but simply improve the readability of the script.

This made me question, what kind of editor you would take your script to if you did want them to help you with the story line or plot. This service I could not particularly track down. I’ve come to the conclusion that this job would fall on a friend or colleague you trust but not on a stranger for hire. I did however find a great article by Matt Giegerich called “Writing is Deleting: Script Editing Techniques for Screenwriters”. In his short article Matt gives a lot of useful tips about cutting parts of action sequences and dialogue that can, in some cases, be applied to other kinds of writing. He advised about where to enter and end scenes to achieve the most intrigue. He also discussed how to tweak your dialogue to be more convincing of a natural conversation. This is something I can imagine would be difficult when writing a television show or movie, since you are solely responsible for making each character unique and believable.

In my fashion of working backwards, I thought editing an existing script seems difficult, especially when it’s your writing and ideas you have to tweak or delete for the sake of the script. What would be even more difficult would be adapting another written work, like a novel, into a screenplay. Of course I’m digressing from copy-editing but it’s an interesting topic and a type of editing so who cares? John Folsom wrote an interesting piece about his experience with screen writing titled “Turning a Novel into a Screenplay”. In it he discusses how he had to cut out a key character in the book, and change a good deal of the details in the novel to make it work for the big screen. He even changes some of the plotline. He cautions that you must have approval from the author to make changes like these but also you need to be on the same page as the studio to produce a script they want. That’s a lot of people to keep happy, on top of condensing the novel into a readable script. It’s no wonder people always say the book was better than the movie.

Links to the articles are below. I hope you found this topic as interesting as I did. TTYS –Emily


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