Throughout my schooling life I’ve constantly been taught how to write a ‘good story’. Yet, this well-rehearsed ‘novel format’, has almost become a hindrance to my attempts at writing a ‘good’ screenplay. When writing a story for a book, one must rely solely on word choices to conjure remarkable imagery within the readers mind. As Screenwriting is writing for a time-restrictive visual medium, the opposite can be said. I found this point was detrimental to the direction of my brainstorming ideas. When thinking of story outlines, i was no longer thinking in terms of descriptive language but instead of a story that would be visually engaging. I thought to myself…without a voice over, how can I show what each of my characters is feeling? How could I transfer the omnipresence felt when reading a book to the medium of film?
As Christine highlighted in the lecture, this obstacle is one of the biggest to tackle when writing a screenplay. Without being able to read what is happening in each of the characters minds, how can you know what they are feeling….. well it seems that in screenwriting actions often speak louder than words. Well at least that’s what I found when I started writing my story outline. Never underestimate the power of a facial expression!
The use of body language and character mannerisms are also great tools to use to implicitly suggest what the written word can more explicitly say.
In considering this, i also had to remember the role of genre and its effect on dialogue. This closely tied into the lectures emphasis on Brevity vs Verbosity. As my story outline is a black comedy, I felt that quick sharp sentences and witty retorts would suit its style the most. With the end of the world enclosing in on my characters their dialogue wouldn’t be long and descriptive. Instead it would be to the point, somewhat rushed and frantic. Would my characters really waste their precious life on using overly-descriptive language? Probably not.