“The difference between the almost right word & the right word is really a large matter–it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”
Recently I came across the Miss Congeniality script that contained only the dialogue. Apparently Miss Congeniality is one of those scripts that is hard to find online so someone took the time to play the DVD and just write out the spoken words. No scene heading , no scene descriptions, no parenthericals — not even a single character’s name. Just dialogue.
The dang thing reads like a Twitter screenplay. A line here, a line there. (If you are unfamiliar with Twitter, another social marketing tool, you can get a quick overview by checking out a video on You Tube called Twitter in Plain English.) I bet since Twitter has been around for a few years now that somebody has already written a screenplay via Twitter. (At least a short film.)
But the thing that stood out as I looked at the Miss Congeniality dialogue only version is that it weighs in at only 9274 words. (I think I’ve written blogs of more than 9274 words.) So anybody intimidated about writing a screenplay just needs to think it terms of writing less than 10,000 words. Write a thousand words a day and you’ll have a script in 10 days. Of course, the key thing is finding the right 10,000 words.
And while there are a few other things that go into a screenplay the well known Hollywood concept of a screenplay page having “lots of white” applies here as no one is looking for large blocks of black letters full of descriptions and actions. Sparse dialogue rules. Looking and reading some of the top screenplays ever produced makes the process look deceptively easy, because as you flip them you often just see a lot of white on the page.
Here’s an example from the Miss Congeniality script that if I recall correctly was in the trailer for the movie:
“What is the one most important thing our society needs?”
“That would be harsher punishment for parole violators, Stan….And, world peace.”
That’s part of the 9274 spoken words that resulted in $212,742,720 at the box office.