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Scriptwriter's - Research On The Dead - Visiting The La Coroner's Office

By Author: Dennis Russell
Total Articles: 38

Scriptwriters need to get out of the house, get out of their own heads and into the trenches. If you are writing horror, what better place to do some research than taking a visit to your local coroner's office. Visiting the LA Coroner's office is a wow experience - the chance to do first hand research for movie script writing. Actors do it to prepare for a role. Directors do it to prepare to direct. You can get lots of first hand information about fear with the dead. Take notes on how you feel - how the others in the tour feel, look and act - how the staff deals with this daily environment. To write with emotional impact you not only need to write with emotionally chosen words, but to translate what is going on inside your characters to that which goes on the page.
I took my aspiring scriptwriters to the LA Coroner's office. Some wouldn't go - too scared (that's definitely what we need for writing horror - know what scares people). Being inside the LA Coroner's office there is an eerie feeling walking through the autopsy area. A once living, breathing, human being, lay now as a dead body with guts sprawled from the inside out. They are surrounded by staff just doing their jobs. Next to that body would be another body with its skull being cut open. How is that for a horror script writing insights?
If that isn't eerie enough for you, try walking through the holding area where they transport the dead bodies from the ambulance to inside the facility. Flies surrounded the vacant space where blood spewed from rotting bodies.
A sense of lighthearted humor keeps the employees in a better frame of mind. The dedication the employees demonstrate is phenomenal. For some, those employees care more about the lifeless bodies then their own relative do - sad, but true.
Incorporating elements from the real world into your movie scripts is a great way for you to write with emotional impact. You can observe what people are doing, saying, not saying, etc., and use that to build scenes that will be realistic and your reader will be able to relate to the words you have on the page so much better.
The LA Coroner's office has a crypt which holds about 500 bodies and a side area for babies. The stillness is deafening - truly lifeless - no energy is present. No matter what you are writing, get out of the house and observe humans in their daily life. Watch how they talk and relate to others. The key to the best movie script writing is to make what you write believable and write with emotional impact - for the reader to be moved and enjoy what they are reading. But remember, movie scripts are not stories - they are rigid and forulaic and contrived.
Take note: the TV shows like CSI or Criminal Minds - they embellish what they show their audiences. Well, that's Hollywood for you.

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