Play Right – Part 2

I got a good four pages done before the sweet siren song of sleep caled me to the pillows, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned so far about writing plays as opposed to screenplays?

There are just so many more damn words on the page.

It takes a hell of a lot more work to fill one up than it does with a film script. It felt like I’d put a lot more work in than I discovered I actually had, but it was really kind of liberating: you can fit a lot more into that script, and the fact that you’re really just setting the scene and placing characters means you can really have a hell of a lot more fun with the dialogue.

Y’see, you’re taught as a screenwriter that less is always more when it comes to dialogue. That it’s a last resort when you can’t tell the story in pictures anymore. That idea definitely has merit, and should certainly be applied to modern movies more strictly than is apparent, although I certainly believe that there are absolutely tons of fun things you can do with film dialogue.

But plays are all about the dialogue, right? Maybe not all, but when it’s just you and a bunch of people on a stage rather than a finely-honed, precisely-edited piece of cinema that spans time and space effortlessly, well…you rely on those people on the stage to tell you the story, don’t you?

And that is both terrifying and exciting. I’m not saying I’m going to master the craft instantly, and I’m not exactly well-versed in the dramatic arts (though there was a time in my youth when I thought I might just have a career as a Shakespearean actor), but I’m looking forward to playing in this sandbox a whole lot.

And then he remembered the second draft of that screenplay he was meant to have written by now.

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