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1st Church Drama Script


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This is my first ever script of any kind. Be gentle but harsh smile.gif

looking for advice everywhere from produce it to trash it

PERSPECTIVE

Characters:

John: 29 year old brother of Jimmy. Overweight. Lives with Jimmy. Slob/loser type but a good guy.

Jimmy: 26 year old bro of John. More professional, well dressed and together.

Cindy Johnson: Newscaster #1

Rebecca Lee: Newscaster #2

Xena: As herself

Setting:

Apartment. Living Room. 11pm. Jimmy alone on couch watching the news and John comes in after a night of eating buffalo wings, evidenced by his shirt and smell. Walks to the fridge and grabs a slimfast

Setup:

John and Jimmy are roommates. The tv they are watching is basically a woman sitting at a desk in front of a large square wooden frame reading them the news. Whenever the channel changes, the one woman gets up and the other sits down.

Start:

Jimmy is alone watching the news. John walks in. Shirt covered in buffalo wing sauce. Plops down on couch

JOHN: Xena is on

JIMMY: What

"I am quietly judging you" - Magnolia

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Way, way, waaaaay too preachy. By the middle of the script, your horse is dead, but you continue to beat him for another 2-3 pages.

It would also behoove you to learn standard script formatting, not to mention capitalization and punctuation.

Let's Carl the whole thing Orff!

Do you know the deep dark secret of the avatars?

It's big. It's fat. It's Greek.

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Woah, back off Mr. Mando. A little sensitivity.

I like the concept. Not crazy about the TV set-up concept. The conflict and banter works without the guy in tights, or big black guy dressed as Xena. Keep it simple. The eagles jokes is funny.

Mando is right though, the point could be made more delicately and the script begins to fall apart around the 2/3rds mark. We start to drift, not understanding what is trying to be done or said. It's a bit on the nose and a bit too long. Back off on the obviousness of the message and cut out 1/3rd of the script.

Good start, though for sure. I bet you'll have a lot of fun putting this on, even without the cross-dressing.

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There are tons of examples of script formatting on the Web -- all you have to do is Google "script format" or "screenplay format" and in 10 minutes you'll be thoroughly confused. But for your purposes right now, the most important thing is to be consistent. Sometimes you used a colon between the character's name and the dialogue; other times you used a dash, or just a space. Sometimes you enclosed your stage directions in parentheses; other times you didn't. Sometimes you put punctuation at the end of a line; other times you didn't. Sometimes you capitalized your sentences appropriately; other times you didn't. My vote: use the colon (or put the character's name on a separate line); always use the parentheses; every line must end with a period or other punctuation; every line must begin with a capital letter. Here's a line where you followed the rules:

CINDY JOHNSON: A fire is burning uncontrollably at a club in South Philly. The club has a capacity to hold 300 people but there is no word yet on any casualties. God is nowhere.

That is much easier to read than this example:

JOHN - hey, you tell me where I can get a banana cream shake this fast and easy (pause) and doesn

Let's Carl the whole thing Orff!

Do you know the deep dark secret of the avatars?

It's big. It's fat. It's Greek.

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I'll comment on the content later but here's a link that helped me get my screenwriting format down. I don't know how different the formatting is for screen and stage but I'm betting they're not worlds apart.

http://www.oscars.org/nicholl/format_a.txt

The most important thing to remember when writing for the screen or the stage (in other words when writing something that people will see rather than read) is that people can only respond to what they see and hear. In a novel you can spend pages describing the inner conflict of a character but on stage you only have the words that come out of the actor's mouth.

Also, I've been reading Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott and as an aspiring writer myself, I've found it inspiring, convicting, and utterly hilarious. Turn off your computer right now and go find yourself a copy!

God bless,

randall

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Good comments mando about directing within the script. I've been all three writer actor and director, and mando's right, you're stepping on the toes of the other artists' creative input with the examples he's listed. But they can always do what I do as a director and ignore the parenthetical comments. But the point is, let your dialogue do the work, if you have to explain a lot in stage direction, it means your dialogue needs improvement.

I've heard Great things about Anne Lamont, I think I'll add it to my Christmas list.

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you're stepping on the toes of the other artists' creative input with the examples he's listed. But they can always do what I do as a director and ignore the parenthetical comments.

Exactly. No director worth her salt will slavishly follow the stage directions, but she will pay careful attention to the dialogue. So the playwright should strive to put all the essential information in the dialogue.

I think this was part of the reason William Saroyan's plays were so infrequently produced -- he was extremely picky about his stage directions and regarded the work as a failure if the director and actors didn't follow them.

On the other hand, a good director or actor owes it to the playwright to at least READ the &*^(@*#&$^@#($* stage directions before deciding to do something else.

And LoneTomato, thanks for posting that example of script format. It's clearer than the ones I was able to find in yesterday's surf-session.

Let's Carl the whole thing Orff!

Do you know the deep dark secret of the avatars?

It's big. It's fat. It's Greek.

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