Monday, December 30, 2013

TODAY'S NUGGET: Wyatt Earp (1994) - Why You Should Read Scripts

[Quick Summary:  The personal side of how Wyatt Earp became a feared Wild West lawman.]

Please don't be dense like me.

For years, I scoffed at the value of reading scripts.

"Read?! REAL writers WRITE. What could I learn from reading?"

I didn't care that every famous screenwriter said to do it.

It was optional, right? I believe the answer is no.

It takes time and is a pain, but it's the only way to teach how to tell a story.
--------------------------------------------------
An example from today's script: 

"DOC (impressed): Bat Masterson. You're the man that killed Sergeant King in Sweetwater?

Bat nods, not knowing Doc's feelings about the deceased.

DOC: Got you in the leg, I understand. My congratulations to you, sir. King was a skunk of the first order.

BIG NOSE KATE: I wish you'd got him before he shot poor Molly Brennan. She was a sweet girl.

This is a subject of real feeling for Bat, who loved the dead girl. Quietly --

BAT: Yes she was, ma'am...."
--------------------------------------------------
How do you interpret the bolded sentences above?

A new writer might think, "That's wrong.  Those sentences violate the "show, don't tell rule."

However, a seasoned writer who has read many scripts will realize:

- It's ok to violate the rule if it helps the story.
- These sentences are NOT telling.  They are describing REACTION SHOTS to the dialogue.  That is why it is so easy to visualize this story.

I was naive to think I could pick up these tricks of the trade by reading once in a blue moon.

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: Reading scripts is your continuing education.

I recommend setting a reading curriculum for yourself.

Don't stop learning.

Wyatt Earp (1994)
 by Lawrence Kasdan and Jake Kasdan 


No comments: