Thursday, December 30, 2010

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Nicholas Ray on the relative roles of words and pictures in film.

10 comments:

Blitzen said...

A script is never just lines. It encapsulates every action, emotion and story point apart from the dialogue as well, to the point that dialogue only plays a minor role in a great script. Screenplays are very different from stageplays in this way.

I don't know how you feel about the film WALL-E, but you must know that the first 20 minutes are so are free of dialogue. It was still written in a script though, and quite beautifully at that.

You can read the script here, if you'd like to see.

jeffreyJack said...

And he should know... That scene in Rebel Without a Cause where Jim Backus (Mr. Magoo if we need a toon reference) is wearing an apron and trying to communicate with Jim (James Dean) could almost play with no dialogue. Who wants to see Dad in an apron when he's trying to figure out how to be a man? Lots of classic manliness in that movie, and no sweet Disney happy ending either...

JohnK said...

"A script is never just lines. It encapsulates every action, emotion and story point apart from the dialogue as well,"

I don't think scripts are an efficient way to write animation. You can't write visuals. You have to draw them.

Jorge said...

I have the original script for "On Dangerous Ground" with an additional third act and the "What kind of job is this, anyway?" scene at the end instead of before Robert Ryan goes to "Siberia".

Do you want me to send it to you somehow?

ardy said...

But if I learn how to write a visually functional script instead of a wordy, self-indulgent one, Hollywood executives won't pay me thousands of dollars for an unoriginal, reformatted short story.

Scrawnycartoons said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
thomas said...

... kind of a piss take, innit. "Sometimes" a script "seems" important.... but its not really important at all, is what he's saying.

I guess directors like Ray think of scripts more as roadmaps.

Perhaps people hang a lot of importance on to the idea of a script because it represents some kind of "authority". Like a form of "Bible - thumping"... Obey the Word.

Mykal said...

Movies are indeed a visual medium, but who among us has not groaned at a crappy, obvious piece of dialogue or, conversely, remembered great lines from movies and felt chills at their reading?

When F. Scott Fitzgerald was making fun of movie dialogue, he disparagingly said "Me, Tarzan. You, Jane." The studio executive whom he was talking to (I can't remember who) said: "Ah, you remembered it."

Point being, contribute greatly in themaking of a memorable film. Perhaps not as much as the visuals we carry in our heads; but still important.

Interesting that Nicholas Ray was often well served by writers. Listen to the dialogue in "In A Lonely Place."

MDG14450 said...

A big part of a movie script is (or should be)creating a structure for the story so it can be told clearly. It's also in the script that characters should reveal themselvs through actions as well as (or more than) dialogue.

kurtwil said...

PIXAR may use a script as a starting point, but they mainly work from storyboards. I worked on several PIXAR DVD's and we were shown a film's development over several months parallel to our DVD content development. In every case a storyboard, then an animated storyboard were PIXAR's visual foundation.
As film development progressed, the storyboards were replaced with rough, then finished animation. Occasionally a major story and visual change would occur late in a film's development.

Same for our animation development in Australia. A script let us present a story proposal to our client, but the actual development required storyboards and layout. Sometimes Layout, and us digital animators, were allowed to add gags or story enhancements.