Monday, 17 May 2010
In my research of the romcom format I've been downloading a few movie scripts (very handy on the new ereader) to get a feel for the shape of the genre. It's an interesting endeavour. First off was As Good As It Gets - the movie starred Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt as an unlikely pair of lovers. Astonishingly sharp and economical script which played like a movie in my head as I read it. So gripping I could barely put it down. Excellent example of how little dialogue you actually need to establish character.
Then I tried Notting Hill - not bad, but even without seeing the movie it was obviously relying on Hugh Grant's floppy-haired screen persona to carry the charm factor. Not a particularly gripping story, unlike its precursor Four Weddings And A Funeral.
Now I'm up to Shakespeare In Love and finding that interesting because it's trying to combine the historical genre with the humour, something I'm interested in trying myself. The Shakespeare angle gives it more literary aspirations too, so not so immediate as a purely contemporary story.
Anyway, the point is screenwriting is a very different process from novel writing - as you know - but it's a good exercise to develop some of the skills we need as authors. Scenes are just as important in books, as are character and dialogue. In fiction we paint the canvas with words, but the process of conjuring an image in the reader's head is exactly the same. We both have very little time to grab the reader's attention and must be conscious of finding ways to keep them interested.
I'm enjoying reading these screenplays, all of which were downloaded for free. Find some at these sites:
The Internet Movie Script Database