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Screenplay - A Team Work

By Author: Thomas Ward
Total Articles: 34

I am a great believer in team work. "A Man is not an Island ". Every person needs feedback to his deeds and thoughts. Every person has faults – small or big – but almost all of us are not completely aware of them. We need someone who can view the faults and point them out to us.
The creator needs another person to read, hear, feel, taste or see the creation – well before it reaches the public – in order to ask the necessary questions and to react. Such questions brings out the best within each and every one of us. The questions force us to rethink about our creation from another perspective. Detached.
Ten of my short scripts were shot to date in USA, England, Wales, Australia and Scotland. Nine of the producers/directors did not – even once – ask me to analyze the story or the characters. Questions regarding the contents, contents or dialogue in the screenplay were not placed before me – as scriptwriter – to answer, to change, replace or even delete. I have no idea why. Maybe because the producers/directors were in another country but we do have e mails that enable us to communicate easily.
One of the screenplays "Dress for the Wedding" (a 30 minutes one) was shot inn English in Israel. The director was a young person who just graduated from one of the leading film schools in Israel. On our first meeting he started pointing flaws in the screenplay, asking question: Why is Albert so happy when Sabrina leaves the hotel room? Who is Marco Fiorello ? Do we see him or not? What is the background of the Cummings couple?
Questions that forced me to think. Forced me to focus on the real message of the screenplay. They made my characters much more realistic and made the story believable all the way.
I started to rewrite the screenplay along the lines that we – both of us – agreed upon. We had several sessions and after each one of them I sat down to rewrite. Each word and action was examined in order to build a better structure and dialogue. To give creditability to the story. The characters received third dimension. They were alive and had their own identity. There was no way that I could have reached such result without the feedback and specific questions of the director.
The questions and feedbacks continued when the shooting started. Certain words and lines had to be replaced and changed because they did not sound right. The actors brought up new comments that both the director and I never thought about. Another perspective, another outlook at the way an actor moves or reacts. Unlike plays on stage – that can be modified from one performance to another – the screenplay (once shot and edited) remains unchanged.
In feature film and TV series we can often see three or more scriptwriters on the credit. Each one supports the other. Together they create a team with one goal in front of them – to write a better screenplay that will serve the director and actors.

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