Ascot race track. Horse enclosure. Elegant people seen in fancy suits and dresses watching.
Once this was known as the sport of kings. And you came because you had wealth and leisure and wanted to show off your mistress.
Other working-class types, drinking beer and eating hamburgers and dressed in jeans and old trousers.
Now the sport of kings has become the pastime of the proletariat.
As you can see, although the commentary is fairly detailed, the visuals are only sketched in. You are trying to give the director a broad idea of what you want from the visuals, leaving the rest up to him or her. Obviously, some pictures will call for more details. Thus, for a scientific or medical film, you may have to describe precisely the handling of a technical shot. But usually a brief suggestion is enough. A rough sketch will also suffice for "idea" scripts. Usually, I don't bother to set out my ideas in long, elaborate sentences; I simply use a few words to suggest the main ideas.
Does the script have to follow the divided page format? Not really. It's just that we're used to this convention. However, if you want to write your visuals across the full page and follow that with the commentary, then go ahead. The only criterion is clarity: Will the ideas in the script be clear to those working on the film? If they are, then you have no problem.
When you start writing the actual script, there are probably some general thoughts that have been with you form some time. You've got a feel for an interesting story and its contradictions and for characters and their conflicts. You've thought about story threads. And you've thought about situation and meaning, and how everything changes over time. So you're ready to plunge in. That's the best situation. Or you sort of know where you want to go but are still a little confused about how to begin. In both cases. it may help you to jot down a few notes under the following headings:
• Logical progression
This kind of analysis works well for me, though many of my friends plunge straight into writing without any such breakdown. It has become second nature for them to consider all these things in their mind, so they do not need to formalize their thinking. It is important to remember, though, that every scriptwriter, formally or informally, consciously or unconsciously, has to consider most of the issues set out above.
Your first goal, in a nonverite film, is for the script to present your key ideas in the most interesting, emotionally compelling and fascinating way. Furthermore, you want your ideas to be seen as a whole rather than as a diverse collection of fragmented thoughts. And you want them to move forward through the film with an easy and seemingly effortless logic and progression.
The problem boils down to this: What ideas will you use, and how are you going to present them? Your research has churned up a hundred ideas and questions. Now you have to sift through them, focusing on some and eliminating others, always keeping in mind the main goal of the picture. If, for example, you started researching the university film University 2000, your overall list of questions and ideas might include the following:
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