by Erin Harvey and Mia Martins, Junior Co-editors for Drama jaBlog!
Meme by Laura via Imgflip.com
It takes skill to create a successful script that carries a clear theme and plot while relying only on dialogue. It’s a way to express ideas in an innovative fashion, showcasing your creativity in a format different from prose and poetry.
For many young authors, dialogue writing in any project can be a challenge. Writing a script provides a solution to this challenge. Because it is necessary to utilize speech as the only means to convey characterization and plot, scriptwriting allows writers to experiment with and improve their dialogue writing skills. For example, speech must be able to define each of your characters individually without the utilization of narrative description. This forces you to get the dialogue right. It’s easy to catch mistakes and unrealistic statements as well; just ask someone to perform your piece!
Scriptwriting also forces the author to work on his or her characterization skills. With only one way to show a character’s growth, scripts help writers strengthen their characterization abilities to make development evident to the reader. In a script, the dialogue must carry the weight of all the characters’ traits and personalities. The character must also develop over a typically shorter amount of time than would be given in a novel.
If you struggle with characterization, try writing a script.
Besides noticeable improvements, scriptwriting provides a break from poems and stories. It’s a change from trudging through paragraphs of description and searching for the perfect rhyme scheme. Rather than focusing on putting yourself in the place of the character in a physical setting, you must instead worry only about your character’s thoughts and speech.
On many occasions, scriptwriting can be more enjoyable as well and offers a break from stressful scenes or spouts of writer’s block. It’s as if you are conversing with a group of friends and able to use an actual conversation for your future masterpiece, slang and all!
Scriptwriting not only strengthens your skills as a writer, but it also provides employment opportunities in a wide array of industries. Front and foremost on every young writer’s mind is the entertainment industry, where scriptwriters pull as much weight as actors and directors.
Are you the next Shakespeare? Would you like to write the next blockbuster movie?
Perhaps you’d prefer to follow in Shonda Rhimes’s footsteps and have three of your shows aired in succession during prime-time television on a network channel. Even online shorts are becoming a popular form of expression; the freedom through independently-produced productions tends to attract a highly engaged audience.
As the entertainment industry continues to grow and evolve, there are numerous opportunities available through scriptwriting. For one, scriptwriting is a great backdoor into the entertainment world—just think about how many well-known actors and directors started their careers as writers (Mindy Kaling is one example of many). Currently, as many movie stars are making it the norm for them to cross over to opportunities in television or plays (such as Daniel Radcliffe on Broadway), your chances of writing for and working with exceptional talent shoot up.
Possibilities can be limitless when writing for television or movies. The budgets have never been higher (think series Game of Thrones, hitting a six million dollar production cost per episode, or the movie Avatar, estimated at a two-hundred and eighty million dollar cost). Game of Thrones, along with several other movies and series, is filmed in multiple countries and even continents.
Creative Superbowl commercials are as popular as the game itself. You could write one of those.
Not limited to just the entertainment industry, scriptwriting is needed by a wide array of companies. Someone needs to write the commercials you see on television, and many different companies utilize scriptwriters to advertise their products. Our own Laura Thomas has done that kind of work and says it’s a highlight of her writing career because it’s fun to write for a team project.
Scriptwriting strengthens and challenges you as a writer, forcing you to focus and improve upon your dialogue and characterization skills while functioning as a welcome break from writing blocks of description. It also provides countless opportunities in the entertainment industry, opening up a new world of possibilities for your work and ideas.
So why wait to start scriptwriting? Put your skills to the test with our drama prompt of the month and submit now!