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Author Topic: Simple Tricks That Work: Read Your Screenplay Aloud  (Read 712 times)
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Rollercoaster on fire
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« on: March 02, 2013, 05:31 AM »

Reading your script on screen isn't the same as hearing your screenplay.

The two activities travel different paths through your brain and fire different nerves clusters along the way.  The two activities give different experiences.  Listen to your words and story and you'll discover ways to improve both.  Maybe you read your dialogue aloud already.  I urge you to go the full monty.

According to his best biographer, Lord Charnwood, Lincoln, this humorist and public man, had a “rare capacity for solitary thought.” He was capable of great concentration and when he wished to read, he did so, ignoring everything and everyone around him. Almost everything he read he read aloud. When asked why, he said: “When I read aloud, two senses catch the idea: first, I see what I read; second, I hear it, and therefore I can remember it better.” No doubt, reading Shakespeare aloud also helped him make friends with the English language in a way no politician since has been able to do. Note the cadence and the perfection of form of the Gettysburg Address and the Second Inaugural. These poems should be endlessly recited, aloud.

-- Article link

... two senses catch the idea...
I see what I read...
I hear it  and I remember it better.

Externalize the experience.  Seeing your words on a computer screen — "solitary thought" — isn't enough.  Your words must round trip into the physical world and back.  Then you see it for what it truly is.

Dictate your script to your phone; listen on you car's music system while driving.  Something like that.  Even better, get a friend to recite and record it.  That way you more easily divorce yourself from the thing.  It will feel fresher, you'll pay closer attention, and you'll catch more things to fix.

I don't understand why so many aspiring screenwriters send their work into the marketplace with careless typos and obvious grammar mistakes.  Those things are the easiest to fix, compared with the vagaries of story construction.  I like to think I have a satisfactory grasp on spelling and grammar, but I still google often when faced with language uncertainty.  Search for five minutes and you'll have a clear answer on how to proceed.

If those writers took the time to read their script out loud from start to finish they'd spot the careless flaws.  Reading aloud and listening slows you down.  When you slow down you focus more.

When you finish a draft:

  • Put it away for a week while you work on other projects
  • Print it, read it, mark up changes on the page
  • Listen to your script read aloud while marking up changes on the page

Now your screenplay's ready for its close-up, Mr DeMille.

« Last Edit: March 02, 2013, 05:34 AM by Pitchpatch » Logged

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