Getting Back to Work! • 02.26.12
As some of you know, I gave birth to my beautiful baby girl in October. It was an amazing, life-changing experience and I’m continuing to grow and learn every single day with her. I cannot even describe what it is like to be a parent, but those of you that are know what I mean, and if you are ever planning on embarking on this journey, my best advice would be that everything everyone warns you about is true. From now on everything you do will be more difficult and take longer than you planned, but it will all be worth it because you will experience a depth of love that is truly amazing.
Okay enough of the mushy new mom stuff, back to screenwriting! I am so thrilled to be back to work with some excellent writers. While trying to maintain my new work-life balance, I’ve added something to my critique method that I wanted to share here. I have been reading scripts aloud to my daughter, at first it was just to keep her occupied while I worked, but I have realized that this is an invaluable method of analyzing a story and something I encourage all of you to try. In graduate school we frequently read scenes aloud, even assigning different people to read different parts. Reading the dialogue, as well as the action description, out loud made it immediately clear what sounded good, what was off, what was funny or scary or suspenseful, and what was just stupid. Writing can be a lonely endeavor, and you most likely will spend a majority of your time in solitude clacking away on a computer. But scripts, like poetry, are meant to be read aloud, and it is vital that your script sounds good and flows smoothly as spoken word. If the dialogue sounds funny (or doesn’t, as the case may be) when it’s read aloud, then it’s not good dialogue.
So, I encourage all of you to read your script out loud. If you can gather enough friends for a true table read, awesome, if not, read it to yourself, to your child (assuming they’re either young enough, like my four month old, not to understand, or that your story is G-rated), your significant other, your cat, your houseplant. Just speak it out loud and really listen to what your characters are trying to tell you.
Oh, and happy Oscar Sunday!