Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Let's Review a Movie One Piece at a Time: The Script

Sometimes, reviewing a movie can be easier if you focus on only one aspect of the movie at a time. As a writer, you may have experienced critiquing how the story is told, and what characters say (and how they say it). It's time to harness that skill and look specifically at the script of a movie.

Pick a movie and stick to the movie as we carry out this series of exercises over the next few months. Watch the movie and ask yourself the following questions:

1. Is the script written well? Were there errors in syntax or grammar, and if there were any, were these appropriate to the character and/or setting?

2. How replete was cursing in the script? Was it necessary for the situation or scene? Was it characteristic of any of the characters or of the setting and plot in general?

3. Do the individual characters talk in character?

4. Is the writing appropriate to the setting, ESPECIALLY with regard to the time setting? This is especially problematic for period films, where screenplay writers try to bring the movie to the people by modernizing the dialogue - and effectively removing the atmosphere that the period film should have.

5. Is the script appropriate to the situation, or are smart-alecky, unnecessary lines running through the script?

These are only a few questions that you can ask yourself while carrying out your review. Remember, you will need to look only at the script and how it affects the movie, as well as how it is affected by the elements of the movie. Focus your work on the script and you can gain insight into how you, as a writer, can improve your craft.

Happy watching and happy reviewing!

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