Script Development and Commissioning. By Jenny Strand
Script Development.Screenwriting is a “collaborative process” according to the book Screenwriting by RayFrenshams, he thinks if you‟re unwilling to change anything in your script then you willhave to produce and direct the film yourself. My idea of script development is the same as Ithink there will be certain things the director and producer can adapt to make a script betterquality so it will be better on film.Ray Frenshams says Script development has many stages; I have listed the stages below.• The producer meets with the scriptwriter and discusses changing and adding parts.• Once a script goes into pre-production it is then viewed by special effects people/ set designers.• The script will then be added to if needed• The script can then change again whilst in post production if still needed.
The First Step Of Development.Initially the first step in script development is to decide on your story. The script writerneeds to know what genre their production is going to be. Filmsite.org categorizes genresand says they all are used to make audience feel different things. ‘Comedies are light-hearted plots consistently and deliberately designed to amuse and provoke laughter (with one-liners, jokes, etc.) by exaggerating the situation, the language, action, relationships and characters’ (online)I agree with this statement from the site as it gives us an idea of how to put a script togetherif we were to.A video I looked at on YouTube called How to Write a Script – Story Structure was aboutscript development. It featured script writers saying what they thought needed to be done inorder to make a script worthwhile and able to be made into a film. One part of the YouTubevideo that I agreed with was the chart which was shown on screen as a man was explaininghis thoughts on how many acts there should be in a script and how long they should be sothat it would be able to be adapted into a film. The clip then went on to show what each ofthe acts should cover.
Another YouTube clip I looked at was called „David Goyer Screenwriting lesson‟ the clipwas of him being interviewed and talking about how he got into scriptwriting and how hefound out what to do. ‘Nowadays with the internet and all these other tools, I don’t think it’s entirely necessary to go to film school, I mean there’s so many film makers that didn’t go to film school that are successful’ (online)Here David Goyer is saying that although he went to film school to learn what he has,that doesn‟t mean all scriptwriters have to go to film school in order for them to create agood script. I agree with this concept as I think the some sites on the internet can give youthe vital information that script writers would need.
I then went on to look at another book called Writing the Short Film by PatCooper and Ken Dancyger. The part of the book I focused on referred to the maincharacters in the script and the plot of the script and also the script itself, how tostructure it etc. ‘The script is essentially the elaboration of a treatment or step outline, including visual description and dialogue. The script should always be presented in master scene format (an example of master scene format is given later in the chapter’(Cooper & Danceyger, page 107)I think it‟s important for the script to already have as much detail as possible sothat when it gets to being looked at by potential producers/directors in thecommissioning process they will already have a quite a clear picture in their headof what the script writers idea is.
However sometimes it is good to mix genres, the magazine Media Magazinethinks this.Matt Freeman of Media Magazine says ‘A director such as Ridley Scott, forinstance, thrives on film–making where old and new, high and low, aremeshed into one. Alien (1979), for example, is a lowbrow horror flick elevatedto a higher artistic realm by novelised science – fiction themes; Blade Runner(1982), is a generic cop movie merged with a high end film noir sensibility.’ This to me is saying that it’s good to mix say a low brow action film with a high end political film for example. So I agree with this quote and find it helpful.
Script Commissioning.Commissioning is for people that have written a script and commissioning is theprocess they go through to get it published/looked at by potential producers anddirectors.E-commissioning on the BBC website describes how you go about sending your scriptoff to them for reading. ‘Each offer sent to the BBC Commissioning team is automatically and securely logged with a unique reference number for your records following your submission. E-Commissioning enables the BBC to handle the huge volume of proposals it receives faster and more effectively so producers submitting proposals to the BBC receive a quicker response.’ (online)This is basically saying what happens when you have sent your script into the BBC tobe viewed by them; they say that it will be logged onto their system and how thisprocess gives you a quicker response as to whether your script means anything to them.
The BBC Writers Room has information on what scripts they don‟t accept. The BBCWriters Room won‟t accept scripts written for existing or previously producedshows/characters; samples or extracts from scripts – they want the whole thing;scripts from overseas or resubmissions of work previously rejected. This has beentaken from the BBC Writers Room website.The Writers Guild of Great Britain is an organization based in the UK that helpswriters gets their work viewed by potential buyers. It also bargains with the price etc.There is also a fee you have to pay to have a membership with them. This informationI have collected has been taken from the website.Personally I think this website is really good as it gives amateur script writers a realchance of getting their work read and viewed by important people.If then your script is successful with the organization you‟ve sent it into, then youwill then get called in to see them to pitch your script. If you yourself don‟t knowwhat you‟re doing when you‟re talking to agents, they won‟t take you as seriously.
A short video clip that I looked at on YouTube gives basic examples of how notto pitch an idea. For example, don‟t rush through your ideas. Below is theopening clip from the video. I think these are really good tips on how to present your script when speaking about is as it says don’t rush through what you’re saying, find an in between on telling the story straight but with the detail that is needed. Also I find the tips in this video are really basic and easy for pretty much anybody to understand and interpret.
A magazine I looked at called Media Magazine once your script has beencommissioned, that process afterwards isn’t to see how high the ratings are, butto see whether it meets their standards when on screen. ‘For us, we’re not judging the success of a show necessarily by how high the rating is, we are judging a successful show by whether or not its level of quality and excellence meet our standard and serves a part of our 30 million subscriber base’
Summary.By doing two reports on Script Development and Script commissioningI have learnt;• How to write a script - ideas generationSuch as deciding on characters and what genre relates most tocharacters chosen, etc. - story structureDeciding the plot - formattingHow to present a script to the best of your ability• How to sell a script - Where to send your scriptWhat companies accept scripts from amateur scriptwriters - Pitching a scriptWhat the right things to say are when presenting a script and thewrong things.
By having to write a report on both script commissioning and script development, I havedeveloped a new knowledge on how to set a script out and what the requirements arefor a finished script if you want to send it if TV company to be looked at forcommissioning either into a film or programme. Personally I didn’t think you had to doan awful lot before sending your script off, for example I didn’t think you had to makesure your script was at least 30 minutes long. I found out from the Writers Room that ithas to be for them to actually consider it so they know you will be able to produce morethan one script in case it is just a one off. They are actually quite strict requirements. Ithink this is because many big companies are bound to get many amateur script writerssending their scripts in everyday and they can’t possibly look at all of them to find outthey don’t meet the suitable standards.
Script Development – Books Reference Page.Screenwriting by Ray FrenshamsPage 10Telling the audience how to get their scripts noticed by producers.Accessed 15/11/11Writing the short film by Pat Cooper and Ken Dancyger3rd editionPage 105 and 107Accessed 22/11/11Media MagazineThe culture issueStyle Over Substance – Or A New CreativityMatt FreemanPage 51Accessed 29/11/11
Script Development – Videos Reference Page‘How to Write a Script – Story Structure’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0yqUmedyOMAccessed 20/11/11‘DAVID GOYER Screenwriting Lesson’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhSwb6XciS8&feature=relatedAccessed 22/11/11Script Development – Magazine Reference Page Media Magazine Page 51 Matt Freeman Style Over Substance – Or A New Creativity The culture issue Accessed 29/11/11