Saturday, November 05, 2005

The Art of Writing the Short Script

Short Scripts. Why write them? And how short is short?

I teach the Art of Writing the Short Screenplay both as an introductory to scriptwriting course at the University of New Hampshire-Manchester, and as a workshop at Film Festivals, Writer's Groups, what have you.... By learning the short form screenplay, we can begin to gain an understanding of their feature film-length grown-up cousins.

In my teachings, short scripts maintain three act structure, plus they incorporate all the formatting issues that a screenwriter must learn to pen that next Academy winning film: FADE IN, FADE OUT, INT./EXT., all these elements are just as important to short scripts as they are to feature screenplays.

In fact, a short script could garner Academy attention. The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences recognizes any short film under forty minutes that has qualified for a nomination. Personally, I would classify any film of about 89 minutes or shorter as a short film, but we're each entitled to our opinion.

Short scripts can run less than one page, too. Consider that one page roughly equates to one minute of film time, and then consider that many commercials run less than a minute, some even top out at 15 or 30 seconds long.

So short scripts can be an excellent tool to learning the screenwriting craft. And a polished short script can serve as a calling card, especially if that short script has won an award, or - perhaps even better - if that short script is shot, resulting in a possible Oscar contending film, and a fabulous calling card.

Speaking of short, in an attempt to keep my posts both frequent and brief, I shall end for now...and promise a follow-up. Those of you who know me from workshops and classes can verify that yes, indeed, there will be more to follow. Much more.

Thanks for stopping by.

Dana Biscotti Myskowski
Award Winning Screenwriter & Script Consultant


Drew said...

I adore screenwriting blogs, so you're officially bookmarked. Many before you have claimed that they were going to post frequently so you better keep up your end of the bargain, sister.

Hey, your sidebar could use a great resource site. There's a site that has tons of free movie scripts to read, but for the life of me, I can't recall it.


Ernesto said...

Great first post. Love the short script concept, and I'll definitely be following along!

Dana said...

Thanks for dropping by Drew & Ernesto!

New page...and I'll eventually get the hang of this, I guess. Thanks for getting me started, Ernesto.

As for you, Drew - thanks for providing script-o-rama! I've visited a million times, at least, and read tons of scripts thanks to you. Also have been sending students and workshop participants to your site for years.

Thanks again!


PS Drew: I e-mailed you a note, too...not sure if you received it.

PSS Ernesto - I tried to post a comment to your recent blog, but access was denied. Help?

Ernesto said...

Dana, I have a security feature enabled to prevent robot comment spam -- you have to type some numbers in based on an image you see next to the post button. Could that have been it? (By the way, Blogger provides a similar feature and you may want to enable it if you find yourself getting a lot of comment spam!) Am adding you to my blogroll.