Basic Scriptwriting: Teleplay, Comics & Screenplay
I was scheduled to end my vacation in May, but due to the SWINE FLU outbreak in Mexico, I've decided to go home early. Better safe than sorry.
First, let me thank GOSSIP GIRL... er... Heather... (LOL), for answering my emails. Thank you, Miss Dublin, Ireland. Funny how Ireland and The Philippines' music, sentiment, and temperament resemble in many ways.
There were many nasty emails coming from different people and I'd rather let sleeping dogs lie, except for one who advised me to come clean on something, as if I had done an illegal thing, or maybe he thought I run as Vice Mayor of Manila? Well, let me tell you, my friend, I am not Iskho Moreno, but I admired what he did after the mudslinging he endured during the elections. In my case, I am not running for public office, so whatever I do is not important to anybody but to myself.
FOR NOW... HERE ARE THE DRAWINGS OF:
• RODRIGO BENITEZ
• RIC M HERNANDEZ
• JOEL MAGPAYO
RIC M. HERNANDEZ
Another letter that needs attention:
You promised in your blog several months ago that you will tackle the basic principles of scriptwriting. I've waited and waited, but nothing came out. Now I will remind you to please fulfill that promise.
Good luck, good health and God bless you.
Garden Grove, CA
Well David, thank you for reminding me. The basic things sometimes, are the most important in anything.
So, here it goes. I know that not all the people out there are interested in this, but I'll make it quick and dirty. If you guys get something from it, good. If you think you already know everything on this subject, then let's just say that it is a review of what you already know.
• What is the most important thing in a story?
For me, it is the character. Why? Character creates action. Action moves the story forward.
• What are the things involved within a character?
Purpose, or goal. Like any person, a character in a story has a purpose. Good purpose, bad purpose. And when there is purpose, what does it make him do? Work on it. Strive, struggle, pursue.
• When the character pursues something, what does he experience?
Failures, obstacles, successes, triumphs.
• After all these trials, what is the ultimate thing a character must do?
Decide, hoping that the decision he made is the right one. Some character succeed, others fail. Some pursue their goal and would not stop until they win. Others give up and abandon their goals, their dreams.
These are the basic purposes of a character. From the Bible, to great literature and down to comic books, we encounter all these things in a character.
Therefore, when you're creating a character, that character must have a goal, or some kind of philosophy that he believes in. A story without conflict is like a penis that would not get hard. The Aussies would certainly not like that and they'd call you "dry blow".
So make sure that when you create your leading character in your story, give him a goal. Let him struggle to reach that goal. While trying to work to succeed in fulfilling that goal, give him triumphs and obstacles. Build it up by making the trials harder as he goes deeper into the story. Near the end, he will do the so-called "greatest performance of his life" by finally deciding on what he must do to "once-and-for-all" achieve his goal. That decision may make him win... or lose the game.
Many beginning writers are groping in the dark when it involves the technical aspects of scriptwriting. Take note that for any story to make sense and to work as comics, tv or movie (and even stage play), it has to have some sort of paradigm where your story will play wonderfully and beautifully.
Since ancient times, the Greek tragedy was already using this paradigm. Now, we are already in computer age, but the paradigm still works and the reason why we like a movie, a TV series, comics, or stage plays. Look at the image below to illustrate the division of the acts.
Why are the current telenovelas so boring and atrociously nonsensical?
Because the writers seem not to realize that scriptwriting also means time. Every second counts. If they think this way, there's no way in hell they're going to dilly-dally with their scenes and waste the time of the viewers.
Let me give you an example of a one-hour TV script.
We know that one hour is 60 minutes. But if you're a writer, you know that a one-hour TV drama is only 44 minutes script running time. The remaining 16 minutes are used up by COMMERCIALS.
Therefore, your teleplay should be divided this way:
For Comics: If you have 40 pages, divide them as follows:
10 pages - beginning
20 pages - middle
10 pages - ending
For Screenplays: a one hour movie is 120 pages of letter size paper
(8.5 inches x 11 inches)
30 pages - beginning
60 pages - middle
30 pages - end
If you have more questions, just ask me in the comment area and I would gladly answer them.