Q. What makes this article different from most other script writing seminars?
If you’re scripting a short listicle video, you could take an original idea and add your own special touch to it.
Example: The concept of ‘spoofs’ or ‘honest video’ formats that Indian YouTube Channel A.I.B. was famous for, was originally created by the British comedian and actor, Arthur Roberts. They added a localized touch to it.
If you’re writing for a play or a movie, try to come up with something that people don’t usually get to see. You can either experiment, or showcase something that means something personal to you.
Example: There’s no gainsaying this, but the concept behind Christopher Nolan’s movie ‘Inception’ was absolutely mind blowing, pure genius and one of a kind.
Example: In the movie ‘Udaan’ , a young boy, returns home to his abusive father and his 6 year old half-brother he never knew about after being expelled from boarding school. Caught between his harsh father’s whim for him to pursue engineering, writing, late night drink bouts and his helpless brother, his wish to live a better life is similar to Anurag Kashyap’s story of chasing his own dream.
2. THE LUBITSCH TOUCH
The Lubitsch touch is the simplest and smartest way of visually ‘showing’ an idea instead of having a character ‘tell’ us.
Dramatise this situation: A king finds out that his wife, the queen, is romantically involved with a court lieutenant.
The king, a bulky, stout man, leaves his room.
An armoured man, who’s been standing outside on the pretext of guarding the room, sneaks in.
The king, descending a flight of stairs, realizes that he’s forgotten his belt and sword in his room, so he goes back to the room and exits with a belt in hand.
As he tries it on, he realizes that it’s way too small for him.
That’s when he infuriatingly barges into the room to find the lieutenant hiding under the bed.
3. PLOT BEFORE PUNCHLINES
Although repetitive, this mantra is the key to ensure that you maintain a balance among character movement, drama, timing and dialogue. What’s the point of good punch lines if your story leads nowhere?
Structure your whole script like a story. You’ll get to know if it lacks any drama or has too much of verbal communication (dialogues)
Try to sum up the essence of your story in one line. If this doesn’t work out for you, you’ll figure out that your story is slightly ambiguous and needs to be more concrete.
Make sure that when you start scripting your dialogues, something gets the reader of your script and the viewers of your potential video hooked within the first ten seconds.
4. RESEARCH, JUST DO IT.
You might know of different types of people, but you probably don’t know them.
You DON’T know:
- What’s playing on their minds at any given moment?
- Their attitude towards life.
-The choice of words they’d use in a conversation.
- How they would react to a certain situation.
That is why researching or talking to those people who belong to a certain profession or to those who’ve gone through something traumatic, can make your work more realistic and impactful. DETAILS MATTER.
Q. How exactly do you ‘build’ or ‘layer’ your character?
Take the example of the HBO drama ‘The Night Of’, where John Stone, a two-bit unsuccessful lawyer struggles with a severe eczema on his feet that prevents him from wearing closed shoes and has a part of his sockless, red, irritated feet exposed, causing them to draw revulsion towards him.
This chronic itch really challenges John both physically and mentally, irking him even during courtroom sessions, but this brings out his true character.
2. Genre combination research
Mixing two genres can be quite an innovative idea. However, you should ensure that you give EQUAL IMPORTANCE to both of them, and not let one genre dominate the other. You should have a good understanding of movies based on each genre.
5. THE CHOSEN ONES
After you’re done with your first draft, get it reviewed by three people you’d trust your life with.
Take the constructive criticism you receive in good spirit and keep working and refining your draft again and again.
You might consider this step as unnecessary validation, but it’s not. Writers subconsciously tend to judge their work either too critically or with bias.
Don’t feel afraid to change things or ask for help, but waiting for your own ‘Eureka’ moment is a different kind of cloud 9.
6. ENJOY THE PROCESS
Have something originally memorable that people can quote and link to your script every time they read it.
Most writers get so psyched by deadlines and the competition around them that they forget the main reason they’re writing is to enjoy the process. Don’t think too much. Just go with your gut.
Find your spot, make sure you’re working in an environment you’re best suited to work in and try to switch off from everything else. I prefer staying up late when it’s quiet at home.
Of course, your script will play on your mind all day, but just give it your best shot over a reasonable period of time- a minimum of 7-8 days.
The next time you watch a movie or T.V. series, try imagining how the script would look like in your head as and when a character speaks. Eventually you’ll have to keep a few dialogues slightly simple because nobody delivers punch lines every single time they speak.
You can never ace script writing in your first attempt, so, even if you make mistakes, make interesting mistakes...and one day, you’ll make glorious art.