Tuesday, April 05, 2011

ABC, D for Drehbuch (screenplay)

Drehbuecher/screenplays ... movies were made of books. In 99% my disappointment wins over my excitement to see one of my favorite books on the big screen, because nothing's better than the movie in your head.

I dare to say, every writer has that great movie in his/her head. (Btw: Let me know, if there's another method!) My first go transferring a brain movie to paper ends up with something between 6 and 40 pages. Which is okay until I judge one story could have the potential of a full grown 400 pages book. I regularly panic then! How could I ever reach that number, when my whole plot is already told in 10% of the needed pages? From where should I only get the other 90%? Of course I know better, those few pages are just a very, very basic plot line.

In the following time I consider myself as a director, only my two media are exchanged. And I use the very same aspects a screenplay has:
  • Act & scene
  • Action: description of what the viewer sees.
  • Camera: instructions for the camera.
  • Cut: instructions for cutting.
  • Sound/music: noises and music instructions.
  • Character: name of the person, who's going to speak.
  • Dialogue: spoken text of the character.
  • Additional information for the character, of how to speak the text.
I would even go one step further and consult the other film departments, too:
  • Costumes, hair and make-up to emphasize the character's personality.
  • Props, used by the characters.
  • Set design, how does the set improve, influence, give atmosphere during the scene.
  • Etc.
This screenplay technique works pretty well for me by asking just one question: "What can these film departments do to enlarge and enrich my scene?" I'm the director and when I do my work well, my readers can read the vision of my brain movie.

P.S. That 1% exception, where the movie is better than the book, I have to grand Mr. Peter Jackson. What he did with 'Lord of the Rings' was simply outstanding!


Post a Comment