Do you know about ScriptShadow? It’s one of my favorite blogs lately: a smart, snarky, insidery screenplay review. It focuses (as best I can discern) on screenplays that have been bought by a studio but not produced yet. There are some exceptions, but that seems to be the core of it—and as such, it’s actually an odd preview of the next 2-5 years of releases.
Anyway, I mention it now because it’s sci-fi week, and you can read the review of the script for the Ender’s Game adaptation that will probably still never be produced. You can also download the script in its entirety!
Reading screenplays, like reading plays, is actually pretty fun in its own right. They’re always tight and terse: very consumable. And I find the descriptive language of screenplays sort of charming. That is, not the dialogue, but the parts that go
EXT. NEW JERSEY COUNTRYSIDE - MORNING
The train hurls straight at us.
NEW ANGLE -- Skimming alongside as the train twists and turns, sucking up track -- feet, yards, miles of it.
Beneath it, the curving rails, which the rushing train barely seems to touch. They vibrate with an eerie, dulcimer HUM.
It’s never particularly good prose—but it’s not supposed to be, right? It’s supposed to be descriptive and conversational. These are words that will never be seen or heard by the public! Their audience is all agents and producers and, ultimately, a director and production staff. They’re the dark matter of storytelling.
That section above is from the first page of Source Code, one of the most popular scripts on ScriptShadow, and one that I enjoyed reading.
I often find myself reading scripts before bed. Maybe that tells you something about their sensibility and heft. Actually, I think it has a lot to do with their look: a scattering of lines, lots and lots of white space. They’re light and airy. The words flow fast. The film strip plays. Ahh.