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Stewart Vernon
04-28-2015, 10:15 PM
Let me explain... and admit that I am very much a novice at writing scripts, but I have read a lot of scripts written by others. I have seen movies and read comic books that I enjoyed tremendously, only to see the script and be bored to tears. As I try and improve my own ability to write scripts, I think I have a mental block happening.

In my mind, whether I execute it correctly or not at this stage, the script is not a thing unto itself... rather, it is the instructions and list of ingredients that tell others how to make the movie or the comic book.

I love cake... the recipe and instructions are not palatable. If I want to make a cake, I need the instructions and recipe... but I only truly enjoy the parts where I am making the cake and later eating the cake. I don't enjoy reading about how to do it.

Riding a bike as a kid was fun! Reading the instructions was not fun. Actually constructing the bike was fun, though.

So, am I alone here?

I can read the best script in the world and it leaves me feeling empty... but put me to work on making that script into something OR let me have a look at the final product, and that I can enjoy quite a bit.

I think this sometimes makes it tougher for me to take my own ideas and condense them down into a useful script... the idea in my mind seems inventive and exciting, and if I could go from my brain to a finished page it would be great! But when I try to condense it into a script, then read back that script, I have bored myself with my own ideas at times.

Scribbly
04-28-2015, 10:51 PM
You are right. I got bored reading this as well.

Stewart Vernon
04-29-2015, 02:17 AM
I see what you did there... ;)

But seriously, another example.

Reading Shakespeare's plays in school was almost painful... but watching a good acting troupe perform the same play is incredible!

Schuyler
04-29-2015, 08:43 AM
I see what you did there... ;)

But seriously, another example.

Reading Shakespeare's plays in school was almost painful... but watching a good acting troupe perform the same play is incredible!

I never found reading Shakespeare painful. Confusing, yes, but not painful.

Scripts are boring but there is a difference between a boring script and a boring script with a boring story.

Stewart Vernon
04-29-2015, 03:41 PM
Scripts are boring but there is a difference between a boring script and a boring script with a boring story.

Oh, I absolutely agree there.

Kiyoko, Rin
05-01-2015, 08:51 PM
Is it just me or are scripts inherently boring?

It’s just you if you find EVERY script you read boring. If all you’ve been reading lately are bad TPG entries then, no, it’s not just you.

I have seen movies and read comic books that I enjoyed tremendously, only to see the script and be bored to tears.

You might want to think about which side of the consumption / creation line you stand. If you’re more of a fan, looking to be entertained, you’d be more interested in the externals and appearance, and so you’d prefer the finished product. If you’re more of a creator, I would argue that you need to be more interested in the internal mechanics. I’ve been in writing workshops with people who, if you asked them if they’d read (insert bestseller here), chances are they had read it and could give you a detailed and well considered critique on why they did / didn’t like it. Ask them to channel that enthusiasm into creating their own work, and they’d struggle. They stood more on the consumption side.


The script is not a thing unto itself. rather, it is the instructions and list of ingredients that tell others how to make the movie or the comic book.

Yes and no. True, the panel descriptions are not a thing unto themselves – the writer’s words will be converted into pictures – but the dialogue IS the end result. What the writer writes in the script is what the reader will read on the page, or the viewer will hear the actors say, subject to editing / rewrites.

Try reading just the dialogue, see if that makes you appreciate scripts more.

I love cake... the recipe and instructions are not palatable. If I want to make a cake, I need the instructions and recipe... but I only truly enjoy the parts where I am making the cake and later eating the cake. I don't enjoy reading about how to do it.

Then freestyle, baby! Some of the purest, most innovative art is made when the artist listens only to their own creativity, plays to their palette and adjusts to taste. Though most everyone would say it’s best to disregard the rules AFTER you’ve learned them and not INSTEAD of learning them.

Riding a bike as a kid was fun! Reading the instructions was not fun.

Short sighted. Reading tips and tricks on bike riding means you can do more things on a bike. Reading instructions on how to temper chocolate means you get to eat a better chocolate cake. Reading a script and paying attention to what you felt did / didn’t work, and how you would have written it, means you improve because you know what you do or don’t like.

Reading Shakespeare's plays in school was almost painful... but watching a good acting troupe perform the same play is incredible!

Hmm. Maybe your imagination reacts better to visual stimuli than to the written word; maybe you like your stories presented with a human face. Scott McCloud devoted a whole chapter of Understanding Comics to how the human eye is trained to recognise faces and graft a human aesthetic onto things e.g. a plug socket made to look like a face. Question: can you enjoy novels or radio scripts? Neither are very visual media and both pin their final product onto the page . Question 2: do you enjoy watching “the making of” videos, blooper reels, outtakes, gag reels, behind the scenes footage, let’s play videos or anything else that isn’t an end in itself?

Stewart Vernon
05-01-2015, 11:03 PM
You might want to think about which side of the consumption / creation line you stand. If you’re more of a fan, looking to be entertained, you’d be more interested in the externals and appearance, and so you’d prefer the finished product. If you’re more of a creator, I would argue that you need to be more interested in the internal mechanics.

I agree I have a lot to learn... and I am keen on reading about that and learning how to write better scripts. I like to learn, so that's not an issue for me.

I enjoy writing and creating too... I guess maybe I haven't done a good job in communicating my mental block here, though.

What the writer writes in the script is what the reader will read on the page, or the viewer will hear the actors say, subject to editing / rewrites.

Try reading just the dialogue, see if that makes you appreciate scripts more.

This is one of the areas I could have been more clear. Dialog is fine. Reading the dialog is interesting as long as the story and tone is interesting... so no problems there.

Mainly the "boring" part for me are the descriptions of what is going on... unlike a novel where the writer paints a part of the picture and the reader fills in the rest, the script has to contain details to fix a specific view. So while I recognize creativity required to write a script, the reading of it isn't enjoyable.

Then freestyle, baby! Some of the purest, most innovative art is made when the artist listens only to their own creativity, plays to their palette and adjusts to taste. Though most everyone would say it’s best to disregard the rules AFTER you’ve learned them and not INSTEAD of learning them.

Agreed. I do tend to cut corners and freestyle my own stuff, since I'm doing everything (for better or for worse)... but since I recognize my own limitations and would like to work with other people, I definitely need to learn the ins and outs of proper scriptwriting in order to put my ideas on a page in a way that others can take it and run with it.

Short sighted. Reading tips and tricks on bike riding means you can do more things on a bike.

That's different... for my bike example I was referring more to the instruction manual that tells you how to put the bike together. Nothing fun about reading that, even though it tells the story of how to build a fun machine!

Reading a script and paying attention to what you felt did / didn’t work, and how you would have written it, means you improve because you know what you do or don’t like.

Except, and here is where part of my struggle is perhaps... in the modern age scripts do get published or leaked so fans get to see them... but the script is really not typically meant for public consumption. The script is what gets the idea from someone's head and onto the page... and the page is what the fan is meant to see and enjoy.

Some of the critique I and others have received is to not write prose, since the reader will never see it... and that makes sense. And most of the feedback tends to be to try and think of panels as pictures of something happening and describe what you see in each picture. The technical aspect of it all makes sense and is logical to me.

But reading the script vs reading the novelization doesn't tell the story to me in an interesting way.

Hmm. Maybe your imagination reacts better to visual stimuli than to the written word; maybe you like your stories presented with a human face. Scott McCloud devoted a whole chapter of Understanding Comics to how the human eye is trained to recognise faces and graft a human aesthetic onto things e.g. a plug socket made to look like a face.

My sister did that, as a kid... used to talk about the faces in the plugins. I used to do it with those splotchy floor patterns in some bathrooms and kitchens... the shadows would sometimes begin to form people and faces if you looked at them long enough.

Question: can you enjoy novels or radio scripts?

Novels, yes... radio scripts, no. I do enjoy radio plays and podcasts and I've bought and listened to a few Big Finish Doctor Who audio dramas that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Neither are very visual media and both pin their final product onto the page . Question 2: do you enjoy watching “the making of” videos, blooper reels, outtakes, gag reels, behind the scenes footage, let’s play videos or anything else that isn’t an end in itself?

The "making of" are hit or miss with me... if they go into how they did certain stunts, it can be interesting... blooper reels are fun... but table reads, those I skip.

It might be my own mental block. I can recognize when a good story is in there... but I just don't enjoy the script as much as I do a novelization OR the finished movie/comic product. It gives me pause when I write my own scripts because it's tough for me to tell if it is uninteresting to me because the story is uninteresting OR because I'm still poorly executing the technique of writing a proper script. Sometimes a little of both might be true.

For better or worse, with things I do myself... I tend to write out dialog, make notes on things that are important... then everything else I just draw on the spot when I'm making the cartoon. If I find I have less room for dialog I can rewrite on the spot... I can also try to make it feel more natural and add little things I didn't think of until I saw it on the page.

I could probably reverse engineer a script from my finished comic strips/panels... but I am sure my own script would still be a little boring to me even if I like the finished comic.

That's part of my struggle right now... knowing I need to learn and improve a lot, but worrying a little that I have a mental block against a part of the process that will keep me from recognizing when I'm getting the hang of things.

So I started this thread to see if I'm completely in my own stratosphere here, or if other writers have ever found scripts from good movies/comics to be less than entertaining even if you know you like the story and dialog. Maybe I am alone in this weirdness.

Kiyoko, Rin
05-02-2015, 07:22 AM
Ah! Now I know what you mean! And I agree with you, in principle. I don't find scripts boring, but I do agree with the general point that there's the thing you want to do, and there are things you have to do that help you do what you want. Muhammed Ali loved being the heavyweight champion of the world; he HATED training. Rikki Lindhome loves acting and performing, especially her own work; she HATES writing her own material; I love writing, but I resent doing research, I don't enjoy reading work that I've finished, and I hate having to pitch or sell my stuff. It should follow that activities related to your interest should themselves be interesting, but it's not always the case. Reading between the lines, you seem like an artist (which is why you respond more to visual stimulation), so yeah, I can understand you not being as into other people's writing. Art and writing are separate disciplines, after all.

Robert_S
05-02-2015, 01:49 PM
Reading Shakespeare's plays in school was almost painful... but watching a good acting troupe perform the same play is incredible!

That's because you see an actor's interpretation at work.

I read As You Like It as a class assignment and saw the play performed locally. Reading it it came across as serious, but when acted it finally came across as a comedy with touchstone played as gay.

It depends on the script. I read a script at zoetrope.com that was quite good. In fact, it was probably the only script that didn't draw attention to itself as a script, reading more like a story. A few flaws in SPaG and a few in gushy melodrama, but overall, pretty good.

Most though were difficult to read. The worst was a sci-fi that writer produced as a production script as opposed to a spec script with lots of camera angles and drawing attention to specific things, which you don't do in a spec script.

QAN
05-06-2015, 10:06 AM
I love cake... the recipe and instructions are not palatable. If I want to make a cake, I need the instructions and recipe... but I only truly enjoy the parts where I am making the cake and later eating the cake. I don't enjoy reading about how to do it.



Not alone. Visual stimulation has a very base appeal. I believe it's why bad art and big-budget movies with thin plots often get a pass, but a bad story is abhored.

Imagination can turn this around for you. I often cast and conjure scenarios in my mind about the characters. This helps keep the pace and words interesting. It's harder to make the words extra interesting without worthy art to lean on, but possible.

Not falling in love with the first few drafts is a key part of keeping things from going off the rails into boredom.

Stewart Vernon
05-06-2015, 03:45 PM
I'm also certainly reading a lot of not-good scripts too, including my own works-in-progress... My reason for starting this thread, and glad that I did, was that I've sometimes had a tough time reading scripts for stories that I liked.

When searching for examples of scripts to study, I look for scripts by writers I liked and stories I enjoyed reading... and still, those scripts seem a bit hollow. It's not a critique by me, especially when I know I enjoyed the end-product.

It's like... nobody wants to live in the scaffolding... you want to live in the finished building... and you might find the blueprints to be interesting a bit, but not nearly so much so as being in the completed building.

I feel like, I wouldn't know a good finished script if it bit me... since I fear (though fear is too strong of a word) that I'll not enjoy my own scripts even when they are properly done one day.

It's something I have to work on, as part of the creative process.

My professional/published work in technical manuals probably doesn't help... it helps in terms of process and work ethic, but the books I've had published weren't going to be "fun" no matter what... they told a story, the "how to" of a thing... but it wasn't an entertaining story.

Some of the skills translate, though... learning to be concise (something I don't do in my forum posts obviously) and pace things... planning for artwork and directing the artwork's creation also comes in handy too, I just need to get in the right frame of mind for the very different kind of artwork I need to describe.

QAN
05-07-2015, 07:54 AM
It's like... nobody wants to live in the scaffolding... you want to live in the finished building... and you might find the blueprints to be interesting a bit, but not nearly so much so as being in the completed building.



I see this a lot in daily life. It's part of the reason why certain occupations like cleaners (I mean the rags and soap stuff) and repair are so lucrative. Most people I meet care very little for the details - as long as it works, everything is :w00t:! Deconstruction often reveals a tedium that knocks the coolness factor on it stomach for some. I look at it as a challenge.

You seem to know who you are and what you are capable of accomplishing. That's "half the battle", as a certain old toon preached.

Scribbly
05-07-2015, 04:33 PM
I always wanted to be a surgeon. But skipping the bore part of studying.

Stewart Vernon
05-07-2015, 09:49 PM
I always wanted to be a surgeon. But skipping the bore part of studying.

You seem to be missing my point, but I think the others are getting it.

Learning and practice are not boring to me. I haven't advocated or wanted to skip those steps.

Scribbly
05-07-2015, 11:38 PM
You seem to be missing my point, but I think the others are getting it.

Learning and practice are not boring to me. I haven't advocated or wanted to skip those steps.

I don't know. I like ride a bike but I never got into reading any instructions for doing so. Neither had needs for constructing one.



Riding a bike as a kid was fun! Reading the instructions was not fun. Actually constructing the bike was fun, though.

eDuke
05-08-2015, 12:30 AM
You guys are killing me.

Schuyler
05-08-2015, 02:53 AM
I see this a lot in daily life. It's part of the reason why certain occupations like cleaners (I mean the rags and soap stuff) and repair are so lucrative. Most people I meet care very little for the details - as long as it works, everything is :w00t:! Deconstruction often reveals a tedium that knocks the coolness factor on it stomach for some. I look at it as a challenge.

You seem to know who you are and what you are capable of accomplishing. That's "half the battle", as a certain old toon preached.

The inner workings are the coolest part. It's the completed project that it is boring.

-Sky

Stewart Vernon
05-08-2015, 02:57 AM
I don't know. I like ride a bike but I never got into reading any instructions for doing so. Neither had needs for constructing one.

And that's mostly my point.

I like creating comics... I like reading comics... I like learning how to create better comics. I find, however, that reading scripts are a little bit of a chore to me.

Love Watchmen the comic... less than thrilled reading through a script for an issue of that series. Love Sandman, hard to read through one of the scripts for an issue of that series.

It's not a commentary on whether the script is good or not... but it factors into my own script-writing abilities in that it's sometimes hard for me to separate how my script is bad because I am unskilled at writing in script-form, my story has holes or is uninteresting, or that I'm just not going to like reading the script even when I nail most aspects of a good script.

As others have suggested, a lot of it is in my head... and at least some of it is the way I appear to be wired more for the visual.

Scribbly
05-08-2015, 11:04 AM
And that's mostly my point.

I like creating comics... I like reading comics... I like learning how to create better comics. I find, however, that reading scripts are a little bit of a chore to me.

Love Watchmen the comic... less than thrilled reading through a script for an issue of that series. Love Sandman, hard to read through one of the scripts for an issue of that series.

It's not a commentary on whether the script is good or not... but it factors into my own script-writing abilities in that it's sometimes hard for me to separate how my script is bad because I am unskilled at writing in script-form, my story has holes or is uninteresting, or that I'm just not going to like reading the script even when I nail most aspects of a good script.

As others have suggested, a lot of it is in my head... and at least some of it is the way I appear to be wired more for the visual.

And why did you go on reading these Watchmen's or Sandman's scripts for beginnings?
I don't think that Moore or Gaiman wrote these scripts for you to read it. They wrote for the Editor, the artists who would illustrate it and ultimately for themselves. They never wrote these scripts to be exposed in raw for the audience. When we have convenience of having stuff like that for free online, that is not for enjoying, but for studying and analyzing the work of two successful masters in the field we are trying to get in. And for learn stuff and techniques that we eventually may incorporate or avoid in our own work as payback.
I like to read. To read prose mostly. That is never a bore for me unless what I'm reading is bad written.
Actually, to read for my is visualizing. When reading I don't see words, I see the images clicking on my mind.
When reading I can automatically see a movie on my mind. That is the meaning of writing and reading. To transmit images, emotions and knowledge.
Unlike prose which works a full ensemble of elements structured for producing a emotional reaction in the audience, in a comics script these elements are separated and deconstructed to make easy for the artist to illustrate it.
The goal is to produce the same emotional response at the end of the process, by combining writing text and images.

So, if you don't like to read other writers scripts just don't do it. I don't see Moore or Gaiman reading your scripts or somebody else's scripts either. But I can see them reading and being influenced by stuff that can be of use and interest for them.

Stewart Vernon
05-08-2015, 09:52 PM
And why did you go on reading these Watchmen's or Sandman's scripts for beginnings?
I don't think that Moore or Gaiman wrote these scripts for you to read it. They wrote for the Editor, the artists who would illustrate it and ultimately for themselves. They never wrote these scripts to be exposed in raw for the audience. When we have convenience of having stuff like that for free online, that is not for enjoying, but for studying and analyzing the work of two successful masters in the field we are trying to get in. And for learn stuff and techniques that we eventually may incorporate or avoid in our own work as payback....

Obviously they didn't write them intended for me as an audience... just like scripts I write aren't generally intended for an audience either. But this stuff doesn't exist in a vacuum... the only way for me to learn is to see how other people are doing it.

When I get feedback that my script is uninteresting... I don't doubt it... but I wonder if I would know when the script becomes interesting because of everything I've said thus far in this thread.

IF my favorite stories have scripts that are uninteresting to me... then my own scripts are going to also be uninteresting to me... and so when I send them out for editing or review to see if I'm learning the process better, and I get feedback that says I'm "uninteresting" it's hard for me to separate actual uninteresting story from my own disinterest in the format.

So, if you don't like to read other writers scripts just don't do it. I don't see Moore or Gaiman reading your scripts or somebody else's scripts either. But I can see them reading and being influenced by stuff that can be of use and interest for them.

I'm not reading their scripts for story ideas... I'm reading their scripts to see how scripts are written. I read other things to get story ideas + my own imagination.

I'm not sure if you're just not getting what I started this thread to ask... or if you're "poking the bear" or what.

ponyrl
05-09-2015, 01:28 AM
Tarantino's movie scripts are as entertaining to read as his movies are to watch.

Find better scripts.

Try Chris Claremont. He's verbose, can spin a story well.

Scribbly
05-09-2015, 06:22 AM
Obviously they didn't write them intended for me as an audience... just like scripts I write aren't generally intended for an audience either. But this stuff doesn't exist in a vacuum... the only way for me to learn is to see how other people are doing it.

When I get feedback that my script is uninteresting... I don't doubt it... but I wonder if I would know when the script becomes interesting because of everything I've said thus far in this thread.

IF my favorite stories have scripts that are uninteresting to me... then my own scripts are going to also be uninteresting to me... and so when I send them out for editing or review to see if I'm learning the process better, and I get feedback that says I'm "uninteresting" it's hard for me to separate actual uninteresting story from my own disinterest in the format.



I'm not reading their scripts for story ideas... I'm reading their scripts to see how scripts are written. I read other things to get story ideas + my own imagination.

I'm not sure if you're just not getting what I started this thread to ask... or if you're "poking the bear" or what.
Sorry, I didn't start this thread, you did.
That's the thing, you went to read the scripts of these famous comics writers and you found out these scripts are uninteresting...for you.
The same way that the feedback you already had on your script. Uninteresting. If Moore and Gaiman's scripts are uninteresting or boring for you in an equal world your script could be uninteresting for that Editor who send you such a lapidary feedback.
The only difference is that these two writers, unlike you, aren't in the Hall of Fame for nothing. Their stories, not their scripts alone, are truly appealing and able to bring emotional reaction in the audience.
Uninteresting. There is not uninteresting script. There are scripts well and poorly made according the instinctive or literate
skills of the writer.
There are no uninteresting stories as well. The most trivial theme can become interesting in the hands of a good writer. Mark Twain proved it.

So, when we say uninteresting it could be that THIS is uninteresting for THIS Editor. Or, that this script is not well written, making an amazing story uninteresting for the general audience.
We can see that on movies and TV shows that are cut off every season.
Superheroes were historically uninteresting for European publishers. The idea of Superman was uninteresting for Editors and Publishers altogether more that 10 years before it was finally published.
So there you go.

I never got the chance for reading any of your scripts so I can not tell about your writing skills. Maybe you can produce a link to any of them ?
Anyway, uninteresting for an Editor is regarding to what is interesting for HIM and his agenda at the time. Anything else wont take much of his time, as in giving a detailed explanation of why technically your script is not well made making the story uninteresting for him/her .
Usually the problem in writing is lack of structure. As in artwork the main problem is the lack of proportions.
I don't know, a comic script is a very condensed and compressed by space per page story. Each script has a dramatic introduction, a big fall in disgrace in the middle and a glorious or terrifying redemption at the end with many reversals in the middle. What could be wrong with it?
Briefly, A story can be uninteresting by theme regarding who reads it or by confection regarding who wrote it.
You probably may need to find out what is your state regarding these issues.