Monday, March 29, 2010

Writing for stage and screen

In a couple of days, would-be screen writers and playwrights will participate in Script Frenzy--a thirty-day effort to create one hundred pages of original scripted material during the month of April. (You can learn more at:

While I have never attempted to write for stage or screen, over fifteen thousand others have decided to take the challenge. I know from participating in the sister challenge, National Novel Writing Month, in several past Novembers, that it takes an enormous amount of focus and will to accomplish such a feat. I have great respect for those making the attempt, and will cheer them on from the sidelines.

After all, the world needs more good scripts. I don't know about you, but with more television channels, and thus more entertainment hours to fill, it seems good writing is harder than ever to find. In fact, many programs suffer from one of several ailments.

Sitcoms often fall ill with "double pneumonia"--where the double-entendre is the only tool writers use to leave the audience breathless with laughter. Unfortunately for audiences, this condition is seldom infectious, and usually leaves viewers in a mirthless catatonia accompanied by a laugh track.

Dramas appear to be more susceptible to "Repetoid Arthritis." It is a stiffness caused by repeating plots from other dramas from years past. This is particularly the case with police dramas that sometimes also suffer from "RecysCSItis," a painful ailment caused by recycling CSI episodes.

Movies are not immune to these illnesses, either. Many suffer from "Heartburn" from too many trite relationships or "Technothrombosis" defined as a film so clogged with technology as to prevent any story from coming through.

And the Broadway stage? Some would say it has flatlined. It is the place Disney movies go into the afterlife, and "revival" of works that left only weeks before no longer seems out of the ordinary.

So, go for it, writers. Write your scripts. Your new, fresh voices are needed. You are all that stands between us and a host of illnesses, or even worse--more "reality" shows!

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