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Old 05-05-2018, 10:31 AM   #1
TravisPickle
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Default Non conventional scripts

What are the strangest screenplays out there in terms of format? I don’t mean font size or spacing! I am talking about actual technique. For example, I remember reading something about a script that was written entirely in the first person.

Another one that had graphics and drawings in it - a collection of clues that lead to the mystery being unraveled.

I am very curious. Sometimes I feel constricted trying to do things in a very classical, conventional way and perhaps there are ways of breaking the mold by being super out there.
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Old 05-06-2018, 01:09 AM   #2
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Default Re: Non conventional scripts

Quote:
I remember reading something about a script that was written entirely in the first person.
Hmm, I suppose that means that the action is all told from the standpoint of a narrator who writes as I/me. I guess you could do it, but why? The I/me narrator would have to be in every scene as the observer.

Quote:
Another one that had graphics and drawings in it - a collection of clues that lead to the mystery being unraveled.
The script for "A Quiet Place" that I saw recently had a good many graphics. That was the only time that I have ever seen them used in a script. Maybe this is the screenplay that you have in mind.

I was not impressed with the screenplay. I thought that it was just a pretentious one-off curiosity. However, I am not opposed to using graphics in a script (although I know that it is rarely if ever done).
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Old 05-08-2018, 09:03 AM   #3
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Default Re: Non conventional scripts

BUBBLES was written from the POV of Michael Jackson's pet monkey. That's pretty out there.
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Old 05-08-2018, 09:54 AM   #4
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Default Re: Non conventional scripts

That first person script you're thinking of is probably A MANY SPLINTERED THING.

It was on the Blacklist and was a Nicholl finalist back in 2011. The whole thing is written in the first person, and so it reads like one long Shane Blackism. The voice is strong, and I can see why producers would be attracted to the writing, but it's all ultimately a gimmick. Underneath it all, the entire story is "A writer who doesn't believe in love falls in love with a girl he can't have."

It was made into a movie called PLAYING IT COOL with Chris Evans and Michelle Monaghan.
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Old 05-19-2018, 01:23 PM   #5
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Default Re: Non conventional scripts

Dan Gilroy's NIGHTCRAWLER went freestyle with typography in places, and to good effect, IMHO.
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Old 05-19-2018, 08:45 PM   #6
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Default Re: Non conventional scripts

My 2:

All of the above-cited examples are gimmicks and tricks, trompe l'oeils, and sleight of hand, IMHO. With or without those oddities, at the end of the proverbial day, only the word choices on the page are the camera and sound of the intended movie.

Translating the screenplay to moving images and sound is a Herculean task involving the talents of hundreds of people even with a well-crafted screenplay. All those aforementioned tricks to get noticed won't help if the story — those chosen words in a chosen order, that is, the screenplay — isn't there in fully polished form to begin with.

So, expand your vocabulary, as in, increase your knowledge of words. You'll need them to better tell your stories.

Last edited by TigerFang : 05-19-2018 at 09:00 PM.
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Old 05-22-2018, 07:36 AM   #7
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Default Re: Non conventional scripts

Quote:
Originally Posted by TigerFang View Post
All of the above-cited examples are gimmicks and tricks, trompe l'oeils, and sleight of hand, IMHO. With or without those oddities, at the end of the proverbial day, only the word choices on the page are the camera and sound of the intended movie.
TigerFang - I'd argue that your comment is not entirely applicable to the Nightcrawler script, because it's not really a gimmick or trick to typeset some words (commercial logotypes and TV captions that would be on the page anyway) in the same kind of fonts that the camera will see them.

And surely it's quicker and clearer than having words describe the third-rate commercial branding of the tawdry world in which the story is set.

Also, an occasional break in the visual monotony of 12-point Courier is rather welcome, and it gives the script a visual strength that helps to build a movie in one's mind.

I've been a graphic and brand designer by trade, so I fully appreciate how Gilroy's spot-on choices of typefaces evoke an environment of crude 'n' crass commerce -- but I reckon that even for non-design-savvy readers they lend a sense of lowbrow ugliness.
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Old 05-22-2018, 09:43 AM   #8
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Default Re: Non conventional scripts

I publish my scripts as Kindles on Amazon. There, I add the occasional graphic and get to do all the nice things with typography and formatting that anyone buying the story in a retail environment would expect.

But what reps and producers want to see in a submission is something else. They want to measure page-per-minute, etc. Anything else is gimmicky, and quite likely to annoy more than inform them.

That being said, I have done ONE single solitary gimmick in my bevy of screenplays: It was where a tiny alien race was speaking to Mankind (sorry, apparently it's "Humankind" or Personkind, now ) for the first time, in my family animated story "Ampersands".

Of course, initially the alien's voices were out of our hearing range till they "turned up the volume" using one of their high-tech pieces of equipment (a watch-like device they wear).

Anyway, in the script, I actually set the courier font to 2 pt for the first try, then 4 pt, then the full 12 pt point. "There, is that better?"

It didn't change the page length, because a line of dialogue (no matter the font) takes up a line. But, it was a totally "cute" gimmick. Never heard what anybody's thought about it.
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