Posts in: April 17th, 2008

Room Service

Poring over* somebody’s screenplay, I’ve realized something: detail is a lost art.

Have you ever read an old-timey screenplay, something from the ’40s or ’50s? The screenplay for Treasure of the Sierra Madre is ridiculously vivid, jammed with visual information and nuance you don’t get in a modern screenplay. I can understand a desire to be concise for the sake of the reader. The most important rule in any kind of writing is to know your audience and cater to them, and the audience for a screenplay is generally “overworked readers who only read the dialogue” and “barely-literate producers who would rather read a two-paragraph synopsis.” However, there’s a big difference between brevity and eliminating necessary details.

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