An excerpt from my script review for Kidnap which will be available 08/07/17:
4.) Dialogue and Description
The style of description in this script is something worth emulating.
Gone are the days where a script contains four line block after four line block of action or description, and because we’re expected to excel at implementing the written word, why say in four lines what you can convey in one or two?
(Or in some cases…Short. Quick. Sentences. That deliver a – PUNCH!)
This fast paced tone is a gift to readers too, because not only is it creating interesting mental images, it also lends to a quicker read. The faster they digest it, the more likely your skills will be viewed favorably.
Here are a few examples that were sprinkled throughout this script.
A WHITE CHRYSLER MINIVAN cruises through SUBURBAN
EVERYTOWN, USA. Look, there’s a Wal-Mart. Over there, a
Rite Aid. A strip mall. An Applebee’s. Bed Bath &
Beyond. Home Depot. Wendy’s. Chevron. THE REAL WORLD.
Will all these franchises be in the final film? Who knows, and individually they’re not important.
What is, is the fact that this is suburban America. It’s safe. Bad shit doesn’t happen here, especially to good people.
She finally inches out… A CAR HONKS and SWERVES not to
hit her! Kate JERKS forward, trying to cross… A SPORTS
CAR comes right at her — SQUEALS ITS BRAKES!!!
She finally CROSSES. She hears ACCIDENTS happen behind her
as she BARRELS up the onramp, SWEATING BULLETS… WAIT!
THERE THEY ARE!
Another good contrast, due to an earlier scene where Kate was afraid to make a U turn because there was a car around a mile down the road from her.
She COMES OUT of the curve onto a NEW HIGHWAY. There’s the
Hatchba- OH SHIT!!!!
A SPARE TIRE is BOUNCING RIGHT AT HER.
That “oh shit” part especially, because it JARS our mind as we read it, creating the tension that our eyes will see onscreen.
Kate looks for the number, and notices that the wall in
front of her is covered with MISSING KIDS FLYERS.
BEEP! The answering machine message ENDS. Kate redials.
Her eyes scan over the faces, the dates. “MISSING SINCE
1996”. AGE-ENHANCED PHOTOS. All unsolved. All hopeless.
All the cops in the world couldn’t find them.
This part could have been broken up a bit nicer.
This is an intense moment for Kate. She realizes that going to the police is wasting precious time that should be focused on saving Frank.
Kate notices the wall in front of her,
covered with MISSING KIDS FLYERS.
BEEP! The answering machine message
ENDS. Kate redials.
Eyes of the missing faces PLEAD with her.
HANG UP! DO something!
Look at the dates! “MISSING SINCE
1996”. AGE-ENHANCED PHOTOS.
All unsolved. All hopeless.
All the cops in the world couldn’t
find them, and the countless faces on
the wall URGE Kate to do for Frank
what their parents wouldn’t do for them!
Kate checks the gauge again. It hasn’t moved. It can’t
move, it is literally at rock bottom. Fuck fuck fuck fuck
We can SEE that needle on empty, and FEEL Kate violently shaking the steering wheel to the “fucks”.
PHONE TO EAR AGAIN, Kate eases down the porch steps, afraid
she’s about to be picked off by sniper at any moment. She
sets off a MOTION DETECTOR LIGHT. KLIK! -GASP!- JUMPY.
The motion detector light was great. It added to the tension, and we’re scared along with Kate because of the way it’s written.
Don’t be afraid to have fun with your scripts.
There’s never a need to spell out every action, especially when we’ll assume most of those actions are being done.
Give you reader the GOOD STUFF, and if you can write in a style that mimics what audiences will see onscreen, then you’re a step or two ahead of some professional screenwriters.
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