HOW DO YOU WRITE TEXT INTO A SCREENPLAY?
When you’re trying to save page counts how do you do it? For ages I wrote it like this
Call me now!
Now not only does this waste space but it also ruins the flow of the page.
So now with a huge nod to Harlan Coben (whose novel CAUGHT I just read which is very good. A true page turner in the real sense of the word.) I want to show you my new way.
So it goes like this.
Zoe looks around for Gary. Her phone buzzes. A new text. WHERE ARE YOU?
She thumbs a response back: WAITING FOR YOU OUTSIDE.
So this works because it doesn’t ruin the flow of the line. The other way bumps and takes you out of the moment.
I always think that your write TWO sorts of screenplays. A READING one whose sole purpose is to make people want to sign on to the project. This is purely about the enjoyment of the read. The second type is a PRODUCTION screenplay which is marked up with scene numbers and revision pages. The Production script has all of the ’smoke and mirrors’ removed. By that I mean for example I will use smell in my screenplays. Like so:
He was six. And smelt six. of dirt and chocolate.
See. Now that’s a description which works well in a READING script but not in a PRODUCTION one.
Must talk a little bit about the book and Harlan in general. I pretty much read everything he does. He’s one of my must reads, up there with Pelecanos. It’s his ability to twist and turn plot without leaving you confused. But he does that thing which in my mind is the essence of great writing: every character is so rich they could be the subject of their own book or movie. His book CAUGHT is interesting because at it’s about CYBER SLANDER. Which of course is so easy to do now. Want to besmirch anyone’s name? Start an internet rumor and watch it grow. Thematically it deals with grief and forgiveness and the need to move on.