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Home » Archives » September 2007 » Coffee and Confidence
[Previous entry: "This is Not My Beautiful Script"] [Next entry: "An Open Letter to the Media"]

09/10/2007: Coffee and Confidence

I have received a lovely letter from Gentle Reader Eurie in Studio City. It includes a recipe for a Vanilla Frappuccino, which is an unexpected bonus! She writes asking about humorous or otherwise personalized stage directions. Eurie:

My all time favorite script line of Buffy is from "Innocence" when Joss... writes something to the effect of "The bastard actually winks at her." [...] Do you recommend this level of spunky personality in writing our spec pilots to help our work stand out? Or is this an indulgence extended to established writers?"

This one has an easy answer. Yes! I recommend this kind of writing. Absolutely. Feel free to put personality and opinion in your stage directions. It makes you sound confident and it helps the reader keep track of what you're intending them to take away from the script at any given point.

However, as long as we're in the neighborhood, there is one thing that you will find in the stage directions of produced episodes that you shouldn't adopt. I'm talking about hyper-specific instructions on set design or visual effects or props. I'm talking about stage directions like: "I'm seeing the room as having a claustrophobic feel, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's a small room. Let's just make sure that it's laid out to have a cramped feeling." You'll see things like this all the time, but it's not appropriate for a spec, for the obvious reason that material with this level of specificity is intended to provide guidance to actual production people, which you don't have.

But jokes? Personality? Attitude? Yes... do that, please!

Lunch: quiche and Tater Tots


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