Reading Scripts

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Avatar of Joe Tamayo
Joe Tamayo on March 21, 2013 at 8:29 pm

I wasn’t sure whether to put this in this section of the forum or in the “Acting and Directing” section of the forum, but I figured here would be best.

The idea I want to mention is the reading of other scripts to grow as a director. Maybe this is a common idea that I am just (maybe embarrassingly) unaware of, but I have definitely thought about the idea of reading an unproduced script, or a script for a film that I haven’t seen, before I see the actual film. The idea here would be to imagine the script visualized according to your visual style and imagine how you would go about directing it. You would then, assumedly, watch the film and be able to see the differences in direction that the particular director of the film made and whether or not you agree with them or still believe an idea you had thought up would’ve worked better.

I was curious what other people thought of it, maybe it’s a bad idea for some reason or another. Just looking to talk about it!

Avatar of O'Ryan McEntire
O'Ryan McEntire on March 24, 2013 at 6:57 am

I think this is a great idea! Especially if you are going to be writing screenplays!

Learning by studying how others do things is a great way to move forward in your craft.

I especially love the suggestion to watch the film after and compare.

On thing to do that will help your directorial discernment is when you notice differences in the script, the final film, or how you would have done it, is to ask why did they do it that way.

Sometimes it’s easy to write something that reads great but just doesn’t work on film the same way. Other times the idea is way to grandiose and expensive the way it’s written in the script and directors have to make hard decisions about what to cut or change to meet the budget. Then there are times when the director takes a different path all together simply because his prior experience tells him this would be a better way to do it or he just feels like it.

Also take note of the differences in style. Each writer has their own way of telling a story. As does a director. Things they always fall back on or devices the use over and over. Can you find a specific director’s, or writer’s voice or tell-tale signs in their other works?

Studying the works of masters is the traditional way to learn an art or skill. Film is just an especially fun one to study!

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