This page is a reprint of a section in Naked Filmmaking on Writing. For those who are reading digital editions where the scans of the pages from my scripts for Year and Nightbeats may not have come out too clearly, hopefully this page will work better for you.
SAMPLE SCRIPT PAGES:
Whenever I look through a book that discusses screenwriting I always feel cheated if it doesn’t include samples of the author’s own work. No, it’s more than that, I get really pissed off. So that I don’t get you pissed off with me, I’m including a couple pages from Year and Nightbeats.
The one feature of my writing style that’s evolved as a result of working with actors is that I write less descriptions for what the actors need to do and for how they should deliver the dialogue. If anything, I may be more inclined to write something of what they may be thinking or feeling to give the actor a reference for how they might approach a scene. I’ve had such wonderful experiences with actors that I truly enjoy giving a scene over to them, getting the camera rolling and seeing what they do with it.
I also hate seeing sample pages reformatted or changed in any way so these are actual scans of pages from my scripts. Once we’re in production I’m constantly modifying and filling my scripts with editing notes and those are reflected on these pages.
A lot of people have the impression that no-budget D.I.Y. movies are just improvised on the spot, and maybe some are. If you want others to take your work seriously then you need to take it seriously as well. Write it all out just as if you were making a big Hollywood movie so that you know what you’re making before you ever start looking for actors or turn the camera on.
The shooting script for Year was continually being revised and updated throughout production. Notes for sounds to be added are written in as message boxes. The mini-DV cassette the scene was shot on is indicated in parenthesis on the scene header line for keeping organized in the editing.
The New Year’s Eve scene of Year that had originally been intended to open the movie on page one became page 22 in the version of the script that was filmed.
First pages of Nightbeats. Start with a visual grabber.