Shorts


These short screenplays were written as exercises in telling an effective, visual story in a very brief format to involve; dialogue, narrative, description and character development.  The challenge is to blend story with an imaginative feel.

The discipline to do this is quite precise but also swift. I found the idea had to be almost fully formed before writing, including the plot and even most of the dialogue in my mind. Then the whole script, usually ten pages or so, had to be written in one session. Only then, with this first draft down could I sit back and see what I could do with it in the edit. Often the first draft was the most authentic, but required adjustments in many details in order to make the story logical. This has to be done by relying on the reader, and eventually the viewer, making inferences at each step. In ten minutes, any laborious spelling out of plot leaves no room to develop a character in any way at all.

Short drama has to be compelling and say something meaningful and of course it's the effective use of imagery which is the primary tool in this respect. A feeling or theme can be created very subtley with sound cues, or even symbolism, but you have to be careful all the time that any method used is not misinterpreted. It is virtually impossible to rule out dialogue or image or description that will not mislead someone but the key is to believe in the intelligence of the audience to make what are sometimes large leaps of faith. The trick is not to let them fall when you have asked them them to jump, and if they do, to catch them safely, sometimes in the very last line at the end.  

I recommend any writer to attempt this very difficult and very rewarding format if only as a creative writing exercise.