SCRIPT SERIES: Why Read a Script Series?
May 21, 2013
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Yesterday, I explored the benefits of writing a script series. But, though I think they’re an excellent learning tool, they’re not just an exercise. Script series are also their own distinct form of entertainment, one that readers have been enjoying for almost a decade at MZPtv, and even longer at their forebears like SimplyScripts. The thought of reading a script for pleasure seems unusual (and some would use stronger words), but writers have to write enjoyable scripts. How does one pull in the attention of a gatekeeper, an executive or producer or agent, if not by telling a great story and using the unique benefits of scripted storytelling.
Script series aren’t just for writing. They’re for reading.
Think about it. Well-written scripts are concise, stripped of unnecessary verbiage and often filled with the kind of snappy, entertaining dialogue that makes you love spending time with its characters. They leave room for the imagination with sparse, terse description that evokes enough of an atmosphere that a set designer can create whatever’s on the page, while stripped back enough to keep you reading. And while a script series might lack the magnetic performances and exciting direction of a filmed project, the barrier to entry is extremely low – and teases your imagination into building a whole world around the words.
Television is a unique form of storytelling: episodic and yet capable of telling stories that last years. Broad and yet capable of aching intimacy. The ending in script series is almost illusory, more like life; rather than endings, there are landmarks. I haven’t quite found another like it. Movies end after two hours, and sequels only bear a passing similarity to the longevity of a good show. Comics almost have the opposite problem, particularly with Marvel and DC: they range for decades, constantly switching hands and resetting their continuities until nothing really matters. Novels are singular and an entirely different format. And so on. Finding a way to make the appeal of television work on the page, open to more creators and without the production difficulties that often interfere with the creative process, really intrigues me.
So, reading script series isn’t just for aspiring screenwriters, though they would have a heads up on the format. Just like a comics newbie would have to understand speech bubbles or footnotes, casual script series readers might have a stumbling block or two, but it’s hardly a high bar to entry. As the format grows in sophistication and readership, I could see it being just as fun to read as anything else on the internet. Why not?