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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Plays for the Future (Part 3)

So I've written about rescuing old scripts and how I'm trying to make them available for a new age of readers and performers.  Now another tricky step.  Preparing them or publication.The problem here is that every publisher has a different way of formatting scripts for the page and they will want them prepared in their format even before considering them. Over the years I have developed my own style which works well in the hands of the actors.  This is not unlike the way film scripts are formatted with plenty of empty space .  for actors to write notes and to insert text small text changes in the rehearsal room.  And with the use of scripts on tablets it looks clean and easy to read on the screen. So  I prefer now when writing a new play is to write directly in this format, and as I'm updating old scripts I want them in this format too.

Here is an example of the way I like to do it from "She Opened the Door":


Did you ever feel this place was haunted?
No.  No.   Only by the Missus....  she has a weird presence.  She shuts herself away in her bedroom  in the attic for most of the day but sometimes....  she haunts the house like a ghost
When they were digging the well they found a pile of skeletons six foot deep.   All piled on top of each other.  They come from Roman times so they weren’t Christian.  That’s what they’ve built her home on.  Heathen foundations.
She says it again Louder
Heathen unnatural foundations this house has.
THE OTHER WOMAN returns arguing with EMMA.  They are carrying costume hats and scripts
EMMA stops
What?   What did you say?   This is a Christian household.
I though your son had eschewed all that.    I thought he had become a humanist.  We have had many discussions on the subject.  I wish I could agree with him on every point he makes
Humanist he may be but he still accompanies me to church on Sunday.
All I was saying that there were skeletons buried in the garden.   They found them when they were building the house.

But publishers tend to follow a format that saves space and paper. Thus(from Sherlock Holmes and the case of the Vanishing Author):

Budd: Well, what do you think?  
Doyle: It’s a bit grim.  
Budd: Nonsense. It’s a room of great character. You’ll do well here. Look at the height of the ceiling. That’s grandeur.  
Doyle: It’s a mausoleum. I can hear the voices of the dead.  
Budd: That’s just the plumbing, Old man. By jingo, this is big enoughto be a second Lord’s. Here bowl me one of your famous googlies.
(Budd seizes a bat. Doyle bowls. The ball eludes Budd.)
Doyle: Howzat?  
Budd: All right. No need to be a Clever Dick.  
Doyle: It was only a dolly drop, old man.  
Budd: I didn’t want to pull it through the window.  
Doyle: See if you can get your bat to this.
(He makes to bowl a fast bumper. Budd pulls away)
Budd: Oh look there’s a separate room for all your equipment.

I suppose they both have their advantages but for me it means I have to format everything in at least two styles and that is very time consuming as no software however sophisticated can change one into the other.

So, which one do you prefer? Is one better for reading and one for working in the rehearsal room as I suppose or do you have different views?