2 The world is a stage and we are all players. Those who write plays control a world of their own creation. Over a decade ago I entered a screenwriting contest and entered a script titled “To the Nth Degree.” It was about a brother and sister and their friend who were kidnapped by someone who wanted to hold the brother and sister for ransum. They were rescued by some aliens before they were kidnapped again by some other aliens. They were rescued a second time by good aliens. Come to find out, the friend was the most important person that was rescued because his father worked for the Alien Cooperation Enterprise. Eventually, the brother, sister, their friend, and hundreds of others save the world from aliens that try to destroy it.
Plays are at times different from scripts. Sometimes the dialog has people speaking long passages in plays while the dialog in scripts is often short and more natural. Here are some examples of what I mean:
The time I spent away from you seemed like an eternity. I longed to see your shining face every morning I awoke. The look you are giving me right now makes me wish I had struggled harder to come to you. Please take me back so we can have our happier ever after.
My life without you was a living Hell. I would wake up at night calling out to you. Then I would cry myself back to sleep. Never leave me again. For God’s sake, you are the reason why I live.
This dialog would be from a play. During Shakespear time, I believe actors might have been allowed to hold their scripts as they performed. I don’t know if this is true. But it would make some sense because memorizing long passages is difficult. Here is an example of a script:
You bet. You were gone too long.
I agree. I don’t know what I was thinking.
You weren’t thinking.
The passages are quick. They could be spoken in ine breath and are easy to remember. For movies or TV programs that allow the actors to do more than one take, if you mess up a word or two, a director can cry cut and the person with the clap board will announce the take and the actor will try again. Actors in plays are often on stage for most of the performance. I remember being in a Christmas play when I was a small child and the main character was on the stage for the entire play. He only needed to be prompted once. The play lasted nearly an hour and had no intermission. Actors that do plays need good memories. Actors that do movies only need to memorize a few pages each day. Sometimes they have cue cards when they are doing close-ups. The actors on Saturday Night Live have cue cards or can use the teleprompter. I believe soap opera actors take advantage of cards and prompters. The tough part is for actors to not look like they are reading. I’m surprised some actors don’t wear glasses that can have scripts transmitted to them they can read or wear ear pieces so they can listen to the scripts.
In the future when people will be able to create movies with their computers and video memory banks in a process I call video manipulation, the scripts will look a lot different and require action cues that correspond to the dialog. There will even be time cues when needed.
This is approximately how a VM script might look. It hasn’t changed much since I wrote the first example in 1980 that I submitted to George Lucas to help him make movies using computers. It wasn’t looked at since it was an unsolicted idea. But it might have allowed him to do his first nine films in the “Star Wars” saga before the turn of the 21st century. All of the actors in the last movies might have been created by computers and it wouldn’t have required twelve hours to do a frame of a movie thanks to referencing and the ability to use video information over and over.
Jerry Inside his car looking at Buddy as the car is being driven through the city at 35 mph with Jerry shown from chest up
Are you ready for Nancy’s verbal attack?
Buddy Inside Jerry’s car looking at Jerry as the car is being driven through the city at 35 mph with Buddy shown from the chest
She can be a real bitch. But I’m used to her garbage.
Jerry and Buddy shown through the windshield talking from the shoulders up as the car is being driven with the city
being seen through the back window and on both sides of the car
Jerry Inside the car talking to Buddy as he looks forward and Buddy is looking at him.
She looks hot and loves to burn guys all the time. :10
Buddy They continue being shown through the windshield talking from the shoulder up as the car is being driven with the city
being seen through the back window and on both sides of the car
She’s like a forest fire that consumes everything in its path.
Jerry They continue being shown through the windshield talking from the shoulder up as the car is being driven with the city
being seen through the back window and on both sides of the car with a truck shown behind it
I guess her voice is the crackling of the flames. :08
This VM script can be coded so that Jerry might be A1 (Actor One) and Buddy could be A2 (Actor Two). Nancy would be A3 if she is the third actor shown. Since each video component would be stored in the video memory banks, the city might be L1 (Location One), the car P6 (Prop Six), the truck P9 (Prop Nine), and people seen walking on the sidewalks could be E11 – 19 (Extra eleven through nineteen). What is not shown in the VM script is the time of day and weather conditions. That would be shown on a previous page of the script. The time cues shown in the middle would be the time spent on the scene between time cues. The script could be even more detailed if the producer wants more details. SInce I write visually, I could probably create VM scripts as long as I had enough video memory banks to draw from. I could even include clothes and code them as W5 (Wardrobe Five) for A1 and W6 for A2. Since a producer would have the video components on preview screens that he would manipulate before combining them on the master screen, he could make changes on the preview screen before committing them to the master screen. When I was doing a cable TV program I had two preview screens where I had my drawings and myself as I read my script on both screens. Then I edited the drawing over me talking onto the master screen. The drawings were shown over the audio on the master screen so that no one would see me reading the script in front of my face.
Playwrites need to be realistic when they construct their plays. Actors normally can’t say long sentences because they can’t speak them in one breath. Also, TV and movie actors need to be able to speak their lines comfortably. Some of the most difficult lines to say are those spoken by actors portraying doctors and scientists. Playwrites have to consider the locations where the action is taking place and the physical requirements of the actors. If an actor is supposed to be dying and lying in a hospital bed he shouldn’t be shouting at the doctors and nurses. Also, they are not supposed to be able to say long sentences in a single breath. Playwrites should write visually and know where their actors are all the time. If an actor is sitting stage left and another actor he is talking to is sitting stage right, the actors shouldn’t be whispering. If a third actor suddenly says something, their appearance on the stage needs to be taken into account either in the stage direction or by the way the actors react to them. An actor that is on stage right can’t suddenly be leaving through a door on stage left unless they’re running on the stage.
Playwrites put words into people’s mouths. They need to make sense unless they are insane. If a screenwriter is lucky they will have their scripts read by actors and maybe they will receive an Oscar for their work. I might try my hand at screenwriting again. I could take one of my books and rewrite it as a screenplay. But I am so busy with my music. I’m composing an opera right now and will discuss the differences between musicals and operas in my next posting. Each requires writers to write stories. I just happen to be a composer too so I am responsible for the words and music.
As for all writers, the stories are the most impotant element be they for readers or audiences. Playwrites and screenwriters need to write visually and realistically. In the future, a lot of people will think they can do VM productions. Those that are successful will earn a lot of money. Those that aren’t successful might still be able to market their productions. Maybe their grandmothers will like them as long as Grandma is one of the characters in the production. When someone tells them they’re putting words in their mouths, they should say, “Thank-you. That’s my job.” Maybe it can be you