Thursday, July 17, 2008

Script Development


I've read a few playwriting books that don't emphasize the development process, or they forget to tell beginner playwrights that this is an option. It's important. It can help you overcome writer's block, pump up dialog, and find weak points.

Here are few ways to further develop your script:

1) Find actors that you can trust. It's easy to pick the wrong type of actors. The best actors will reveal their discoveries in a character. They don't adjust or criticize the part; they express their reaction to the character. The worst actors will try to sound like playwrights: they offer better lines, criticize the play beyond their character, etc.

2) Get a director, let her do her job. If you're going to bring in a director, let them direct the play. You might not be staging a full play, but a director fixes a show on its feet. She will find the problems very quickly. If there's no solution through staging or coaching, you'll be there to fix it. This is a good process for those playwrights who might criticize their own plays too much. If it ain't broke...

3) Do a staged reading. This is especially important for comedies. The audience creates a group tension in a play. In a comedy laughter is a good sign. In a drama the feeling is more subtle, but you can still feel the difference between good and bad. If you don't think it's true, ask an actor. They have the most experience facing audiences. An actor will know whether it was a flop or a hit.

4) Research beyond this blog post. I recommend ordering Scriptwork. You can find it used on Amazon.com (Scriptwork Used.) The authors intended the book to be for directors, but the book is packed with information for playwrights. It's stuff you won't find in a normal playwriting guide.

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