Saturday, November 19, 2011

Saturday at the Movies #73 - Reading the Movies

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We've all seen books adapted for the big screen, some successfully, sometimes not, but this week, we're looking at something different here. Namely, reading scripts or screenplay. When I was in high school and college, I did a lot of theater, so reading in the script format is very natural for me. I have had plays of my own performed, and it's something special to see the written word come to life through the interpretations of actors and director. Give two different actors the same script, or the same actor and the same script with a different director, and you'll come away with two totally different results. For that matter, different set design or costume choices will create yet different environments for the actors and spur the director to steer his/her ship in an entirely different direction. So, for me, reading a script or screenplay shows me the writer's vision at a purer form, like an acoustic performance of a song with an elaborate music video.

I spent the morning at a library book sale, where I picked up, among other items, a book covering the Kenneth Branagh film adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

While this dovetails nicely with my acquisition of Rowing Into the Wind, a film about Mrs. Shelley's writing of her famous work, and there will be a post on that later, but since the book includes the actual screenplay, I'll need to read that first. It got me thinking, though. I have the screenplay for my all time favorite romantic comedy, Love Actually, and read it about as frequently as I watch the movie.

During the time I spent in Star Trek: The Next Generation fandom, I bought several fanzines, many of the licensed novels, but only two scripts, and they are parts of my collection that I will not be parting with anytime soon. Both have romantic plots. but since they are main character/guest character pairings, neither can end well.

"The Outcast" provides, hands down, my favorite canonical relationship for the dashing Commander Riker.

While the complex romantic geometry of "The Host" means beautifully written heartbreak for all involved:

I do reread the scripts that I have, and have found that when I write my blorches (first very rough drafts)they follow screenplay format very closely. Since I always made notes in the margins on the scripts that I used, I'd love to have a peek at a script used by one of my favorite actors - what stood out to them, and what did they question? What did they want to change? Where did they need to give themselves reminders and why?

What about you? Have you read any scripts or screenplays? If you could have any script used by a favorite actor in a tv or movie productions, which one would you choose?


William Maltese said...

Just to say that I'd written and had published something in play and screen formats, I took advantage of mainstream publisher Wildside/Borgo's offer to make it happen and converted my m/f novel MOONSTONE INTRIGUE into the m/f play format of MURDER BY METEORITE: A PLAY IN THREE ACTS and into the m/m movie formatted MOONSTONE MURDERS: THE MOVIE SCRIPT (both available on and just about everywhere). Frankly, I've always been curious as to why, what with the present short attention spans of most of the reading population, why reading scripts and screen plays hasn't caught on.

Anna Carrasco Bowling said...

Congratulations on your releases.

I'm with you - scripts and screenplays can make for fast reading, perfect for the reader who wants a lot of story in not a lot of time.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anna,
Of course you knew I would have to stick my two cents in! I have never written a screenplay, although the first person who ever edited for me asked me if I had. She said I write as if I had been a screenwriter. Whether that's a good or bad thing, I have no idea. At any rate, in my blog today on NIGHTS OF PASSION, I talked about the Twilight novels and Harry Potter series being adapted into movies. Somehow, I think it would be easier to write a screenplay from a novel. Keep in mind, I have zero experience in this, just my best guess. I would love to give screenplay a shot, but have NO clue. Hmmmm ... maybe I will take a course. Now you have me thinking .... again, and that, my friend, could prove to be a dangerous thing. Gerri Brousseau

Anna Carrasco Bowling said...

Gerri, I always say you miss 100% of the shots you don't take. Give it a go, and you might find a new tool for your writer's toolbox.