Thursday, 12 January 2017

Writing - Producing a script

Today I'm tentatively dipping a very small toe into the area of script writing. A dodgy area on the face of it when there have been so few very good script writers.

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When I think of scriptwriters few names spring to mind. One of the best comedy writers was the late Carla Lane who produced several classy sitcoms throughout her career.

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Carla Lane (1928 - 2016)

Sadly we lost Carla's talent last year as we did for a largely unknown writer - Carrie Fisher - who was a 'finisher' and polished already prepared scripts. 

So how do we become involved in this genre of writing?

Well there are a plethora of online resources that may lead to degree level study and beyond but so much that researching them has done little alleviate my apprehensions. However, I will endeavour to produce some help.

1. Have a story in mind and the type of audience you may be aiming to please.

2. Adopt the industry standards for producing your script.

3. Give helpful details about characters and settings.

4. Make sure you haven't written too much. (the average page of a script lasts for about 1 minute).

5. Flesh out your story and then write.

6. Edit and have the story proofread.

7. Research other similar scripts for areas of overlap.

Once you have produced your script there are competitions (BBC) and publishers to convince to read your work.

There are some interesting differences between story writing and script writing. In the latter you break up the story into scenes, have lists of characters and you have to specify scenes. When you consider that 1 minute = 1 page of script then you aren't going to write so much. A half hour sitcom will take 30 - 40 pages, so the relevance of the 4th point above.

Am I going to have a go? I don't think so.

The BBC Writers' room have issued the following challenge.

We challenge you to write the best opening you can dream up.  Be as detailed and original in your choices as possible and take a crack at those first five pages.  If you're feeling bold, perhaps even ten!
How can you write a cracking opening to make sure people keep watching, listening to or reading your story? Here at the BBC Writersroom, we will read the first ten pages of your script to decide if we should read further…
But did you know that for radio, you only have one minute of air time to grab the audience's attention. That's about one page of writing!
For online content, you only have six seconds…
So make strong choices and put them at the top of your script! That doesn't have to mean a car accident or explosion. It could be an intriguing character or a bizarre incident.
Please read and comment on the scripts and support the Writersroom community. The BBCWritersroom team will set you challenges each month, but we will not be involved in reading or giving notes.

For further details go to the BBC Online site and look for the Writers' room.

God Bless