some humor to your screenplay



No announcement yet.
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • some humor to your screenplay

    there are always people commenting on what you can't do in scripts, and why. but i'm going to post a portion of an article about how wordplay is the voice of the writer making artisitc impressions on the reader.

    how that every single word used to build a screenplay should do more than one thing. it's our wordchoice and it's vision that makes a script read like a waterall.

    'utilizing humor in your screenplay by david landau'

    "Begining on page one, the writers use clever wrodplay to deescribel their characters. JOHHAMEE GIBBS,who was born old, and NORRINTON, a dashing youung man, royal navy to the core, demonstrates a flare for using words to convey images and charactwer with fast off the cuff comments."

    this is more than a talent. this is what i call the rewriting template. where once you know your story, you go back and meticously pick the words that will build subtext through texture.

    so you might have 10 different ways to say your prose for one paragraph. my above example is the that element that is innate, which is unfortunate, but is crafted through effort.

    so, 99-100 people have no chance of defining their level to that innate gift, but out of that 1% who may be thousands in number it is up to them to learn the craft so that this exercise becomes second nature. it becomes part of the cadence.

    1. "He polishes the toes of his boots on the back of his calves, but it doesn't help.

    2 nd he has no choice -- and it pisses him off

    3. "elizabeth stand on the stairs. granted, the dress may be painful to wear, but holy smokes!"


  • #2
    I like your examples 1, 2 & 3. The technique adds visual clarity to the action.

    But I've been avoiding using that technique to date because I've read scripts in which it's way over-used and becomes very distracting and 'too clever.'

    I think I'll use it in my next script and see if I can walk the line between 'it works' and 'it's distracting.'


    • #3
      I was dubious about what the writer of the article was advocating. Clever writing? Sounds like an invitation to arch, over-written prose that doesn't ring true, screams "look how smart I am!" and keeps the story from moving forward. But I changed my mind when I read the examples. I like them, too.

      Though they go into the character's mindset, I don't think they break the rule about not writing what can't be shown on the screen. It's easy to picture how an actor would be able to show all that.

      The girl in the uncomfortable but stunning outfit may have to do a little squirming and yanking at it, but we can also tell by her expression that she doesn't mind, because she's thrilled at how great she looks. That tells so much more than just saying she wears a stunning red strapless gown. It makes her more relatable and real.


      • #4

        I've been reading 12 MONKEYS at work, and it does this quite a bit. And it works damn well.

        Great script so far, too.


        • #5
          Re: example

          I didn't see any examples of true "wordplay" there (in Vig's post).


          • #6
            Re: example

            I think it can work either for you or against you--depending on the poeple who read it. Some execs love that kind of thing; others prefer to see a bit of humor in the dialogue, with action and descriptions kept to the essentials.

            But Joan is right in that readers may tend to think the writer is doing a little too much nudge-nudge wink-wink with his readers.


            • #7
              play with my...words

              Augie -

              I took this discussion as playful word choice, as opposed to a literal play on words.