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Screenplay Notes
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  1. Screenplay Notes Script Format Characters Storyboards

  2. Scriptwriting • Classic style • High concept • Examples: All of the movies we’ve seen so far • Minimalism/Open-Ending • Low concept • Examples: American Beauty, Lost in Translation • Anti-structure • Lack of narrative– mostly visual/aural • Examples: Monty Python

  3. Scriptwriting (cont.) • Melodramas • Are about real people in real situations. • Have characters who drive the plot. • Are psychologically complex. • Hyperdramas • Plots are their key element. • They have a central moral lesson, and your characters are vehicles to that end. • Often have a fantastic or unreal tone. • Experimental • Anything goes

  4. Format of Scripts Fictional • All scripts should be written in 12 point Courier font (no exceptions) • Scripts should have 1 inch margins at the sides, top, and bottom of page • Page numbers should be in the top right hand corner • Keep tab settings consistent

  5. Format of ScriptsFictional • Write scene headings • INT. HOUSE – DAY • EXT. OFFICE – NIGHT • Use specific times/places if important to story, otherwise leave them out • Capitalize the following… • Scene headings Sounds • Places Transitions • Character Names • Significant props

  6. Format of ScriptsFictional • Write Action heading. • Character actions that are critical to the story are put here– not random actions. • Again, capitalize the following… • Scene headings Sounds • Places Transitions • Character Names • Significant props

  7. Format of Scripts • Dialogue • Write character’s name in CAPS • Under name is line of dialogue. • No actions appear here… only dialogue • Example from Jaws • VAUGHN • Is that tooth here? Did anyone see it? • HOOPER • I don't have it. • BRODY • He lost it on the way up.

  8. Script Conventions and Abbreviations • Scene Headings • INT vs EXT (interior vs exterior) • Day vs Night • Transitions • Cut to, fade in, fade out, dissolve to, fade to black, freeze frame • NOTE: leave out camera angles

  9. Script Conventions and Abbreviations (cont.) • Scene Directions • VO = voice over • o.s. = off screen • WOS = without sound • POV = point of view • f.g. = foreground • m.g. = mid-ground • b.g. = background

  10. Sample Script-- Psycho INT. HOTEL ROOM – 2:43p Reveal a furnished hotel room. A woman in bra and half-slip lies on the bed, gazing up at a shirtless man. Some FAST FOOD ITEMS are on the table. SAM: You never did eat your lunch, did you. MARION: (sitting up) I better get back to the office. These extended lunch hours give my boss excess acid. SAM: Why don't you call your boss and tell him you're taking the rest of the afternoon off?

  11. Format of Scripts Documentary • Same rules as fictional films EXCEPT: • Scripts consist of two columns: • Video • How does the camera move • Clips from films • Unique video footage • Audio • Dialogue • VO • Sound Effects • Music • One page of script equals one minute of film

  12. Characters • Characters in film should have some similar characteristics (in general) • The will or ability to take action (the main character is usually not passive) • Audience needs to feel empathy for character • There should be some event that changes the character • These events should reveal more about the character • How does character react to pressure • What is the history of the character • What is the character’s motivation

  13. Types of Actors in Film • Type Casting: the process of selecting an actor based on physical look (facial/bodily features) • The role may call for a bald man or grandmother-like woman so you hire actors on these traits • Character Acting: the process of selecting an actor based on the type of character an actor has played previously. • Will Farrell, Robin Williams, and Morgan Freeman always play the same type of character

  14. Examples of Characters • Star Wars– Luke Skywalker • Star Wars-- Darth Vader • Castaway • Fargo • Silence of the Lambs • Pirates of the Caribbean

  15. Storyboards • When filmmakers begin to think about shots and scenes, they will often draw sketches of the shots • Each shot has its own drawing • Camera angels and movements are shown Shrek Storyboards

  16. Examples of Storyboards • The setting of the witch’s castle in the Wizard of Oz. Compare the storyboard with the actual footage The Wizard of Oz

  17. Storyboards from Citizen Kane

  18. Storyboards from Citizen Kane

  19. Storyboards from The Graduate