An excerpt from my script review for Sherlock Holmes and the Vengeance of Dracula which will be available 12/03/18:
4.) Dialogue and Description
We’ll focus on the description first.
The writer did an excellent job setting the tone from the first page.
“Ghostly fog” and “tomblike silence” fit because we’ll be talking about Dracula and the horrors of the supernatural.
These sorts of adjectives were continued throughout the script. That’s nice.
The other technique that was kind of fun was during transitions.
Page 14 had one scene close with Moriarty’s beautiful hound Samson eating a plate of prime rib, only to cut away to a filthy mutt picking through the trash.
Another on page 28, where Dracula transforms into a bat flying over London, and we cut away to Holmes holding the bat hilt of a ceremonial dagger.
Transitions like this are cool, when done well, and used sparingly.
Whitespace is your friend.
Never forget that, especially if trying to pitch a script in the current market.
You still need to set the scene visually in the mind of your reader, but the quicker he moves through your script, the better.
This script suffered from over detail, giving us too much, or having our characters complete actions that were unnecessary and didn’t move the story forward.
(Remember when writing action, we don’t need all the steps of your character walking to and getting into a car. Simply using “gets in the car” works because our mind fills in the rest.)
I was only at page 35 when my eyelids began to grow heavy, and there were almost 100 pages left to go.
Understand this…if your reader starts to nod off this early in your spec script, the chances of her finishing it become infinitesimal.
Lastly, in addition to creating as much whitespace as possible, remember to wrap things up.
Cool action sequences to end a story are great, but know when enough is enough.
Dragging the story out with cool visuals won’t win an audience over, they’ll be sighing like I was that this story should have finished 15 pages earlier.
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