Script Writing Word Counts:

Script Writing “Word Counts: One thing that was drummed into my head (by more than one writer or editor) is that when you’re writing comics, let the pictures tell the story. You should never overwrite and be ruthless about dialogue — cut it, cut it and cut it to tell the story through the images as well as the words, but most particularly, the pictures!Alan Moore recalled the standards of DC Comics editor Mort Weisinger in an interview for the fanzine Zarjaz #3:”What he said was: if you’ve got six panels on a page, then the maximumn number of words you should have in each panel is 35. No more. That’s the maximum. 35 words per panel. Also, if a ballon has more than 20 or 25 words in it, it’s going to look too big. 25 words is the absolute maximum for ballon size. “Right, once you’ve taken on those two simple rules, laying out comics pages — it gives you somewhere to start — you sort of know ‘OK, so six panels, 35 words to a panel, that means about 210 words per page maximum… [so] if you’ve got two panels you’d have 105 each. If you’ve got nine panels, it’s about 23 – 24 words — that’ll be about the right balance of words and pictures. So that is why I obsessively count all the words [in my scripts], to make sure that I’m not going to overwhelm the pictures. I’ve seen some terrible comic writing where the ballons are huge, cover the entire background…”Alan Moore, interviewed in the fanzine Zarjaz #3 – the interview ran in...

Develop your perception

Returning to his home one eveming, an Indian discovered that his venison which he had hung up to dry had been stolen. His sharp indian eyes studied the surroundings, and then he began tracking the robber through the forest. Crossing a raod he saw a man driving a wagon and motioned him to stop. “Have you seen a little old white man, carrying a shot gun, follow by a bobtail dog?” “Yes, I passed him a mile or so north. He a friend of yours?” “No.” The indian admitted. “I’ve never seen him. He stole my venison.” “But how could you describe him, if you’ve never seen the man?” “Easy. I read the signs. He was a little man because he rolled up a stone to stand on to reach the venison. His short steps showed him to be old, and his toes turned out as a white man’s do when walking. His gun left a mark on the tree where he stood it up. The dog’s tracks were small and close together and when he sat on the ground, his bobtail marked the dust.” This is seeing with perception. You not only look at the thing itself, but you look at the signs that leave the telltale path behind. These are the things you must learn to interpret. Go to a cafe or bus station and watch people. Don’t listen to their words as much as you study their faces (and their body language.)   From BASIC STORY TECHNIQUES by  HELEN REAGAN...

Work smart, not hard.

At the very least, this is one thing you must do. Loglines are typically talked about in terms of pitching a screenplay and this often gets a logline confused with a tagline (a marketing tool.) However, the logline is an indispensable part of pre-writing for the simple fact it gets you thinking about the most important parts of your story. The goal. The conflicts. and The characters. The best loglines I’ve seen, and the ones that best serve the writing they are representing are loglines with irony. Irony IS conflict, and there is half your battle. For example: A kid hating paleontologist must work with two children to escape an island infested with man eating dinosaurs. A bad pitch rendition of Jurrasic Park, but it describes the protagonist succinctly, it describes the conflict of both dealing with the children (and most likely not very well) along with the conflict of the dinosaurs and the goal of getting off the island. This is a description by Blake Snyder: “On the verge of An Emotional Starting Point Needing Change, a Flawed Protagonist Breaks Into Act Two; but when the Midpoint happens, he/she must learn the Theme Stated, before All Is Lost.” Some more formula examples. “An ADJECTIVE (describing a defect that must be filled in, your B STORY) NOUN (protagonist) must ACTIVE VERB the ANTAGONIST before THINGS ANTAGONIST OR ANTAGONISTS WILL DO TO STOP PROTAGONIST FROM REACHING THEIR GOAL.” “Who is the Protagonist? (describe with adjective) What do they want? (goal) Who is keeping them from it? (and how.)” Aim for 40 words or less to keep it succinct and exercise the superfluous writing elementary and...