Friday, July 9, 2010

Lessons in Screenwriting: U R Doin' it WRONG

The point of prose in a script is to help lay the scene. It should create vivid images, impart new and useful information, keep the story rolling.

It should. In theory.

Let's examine a few common ways people fail in their prose.

I. Redundant redundancy is redundant.
There is HUGE EXPLOSION as the lab explodes.
Similarly, if you read a 4-sentence paragraph and the word 'dazzle' is used five times, you have a problem AND a poorly written book about sparkly vampires.

II. Blatant racism is not okay.

He tops off his tank and walks to pay the INDIAN cashier who’s really an Indian of the American persuasion.

Hollywood likes to pretend it's 'progressive' and 'forward thinking.' We like you to hide your racist, sexist, ageist thinking in the subtle details so we can all claim cluelessness later.

Now dressed as the Chicano gangbangers they are, they're wearing baggy pants, long black coats.

III. Mexico is many things...

Crossing the border, H and C crack open a couple beers and exchange a laugh as they drive their $70,000 automobile into the safe haven called Mexico.

...but it is not a safe haven. For anyone. Haven't you seen Desperado or Kill Bill? Also, it really messes with the flow of your story if you have your main characters driving from LA to Tijuana and back in like, 5 minutes.

It’s the most spectacular powder sequence ever laid down on film and the most dangerous...

Sylvia’s so stunningly beautiful she could give a clam a heart attack.

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