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


First Blog Post!

Hi internet and Professor Howell

I thought I would start by saying that I am not good at grammar and really had no interest in fine tuning my English skills; I am pretty okay with simply being able to get my point across. One more English class required though, so here I am. Since I was never really taught too much grammar or sentence structure (my Florida public school teachers basically chalked things up to “does that sound right?”) I am excited for the knowledge I will leave this class with. Editing is something I know very little about so I found a blog post basically explaining what it means to be an editor in all the different fields.

I found that there is a lot more to this profession then fixing grammatical errors. This particular blog post details 12 different kinds of editors. In the field of newspapers and magazines, editors check facts, but sometimes have a lot more to do with running the business. Some of their responsibilities would be to organize staff, decide on the nature of the stories covered, direct writers to certain stories, and match those to the intended audience. In a publishing house, editors are often relied on to recruit authors, match the style of writing to the model of the publish house, and even help the writer get from an idea to a finished product. Freelance editors have a wide range of services they can offer. These can range from organizing a text, to being a ghost writer- someone who takes ideas of another and compiles them into an article, essay, or novel. They can also help authors by focusing story plots, organizing sequence of events, finding the right voice for the intended audience, or even simple sentence structure and word choice.

I just summarized the article, but she details each of these professions and the responsibilities they entail. I really had no idea the range of skills and tasks a career in editing could require. I’m much more intrigued to learn about this subject in the semester to come.