June 28

SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN (Classic Post)


I’m writing a movie musical and am using sort of a jury-rigged version of the standard stage musical format: songs stand on their own as one uninterrupted stream of lyrics. Is there a better way to do this, to include action? A standard way for films? I can’t find online versions of scripts for films with musical numbers in them (except Moulin Rouge, which seemed like a bad scenario, very cutty).
Any advice?
Erik from Seattle

I have no experience writing musicals. However, after making a number of inquiries, I have concluded that there is probably no longer a standard format for musicals. I received two important suggestions which may help:

1. Since the thirties, songs in movie musicals have not been uninterrupted events. Rather, the songs themselves advance the action of the story. As such, it is unlikely that the songs will be represented in the script by an uninterrupted block of lyrics. You will likely have action interwoven with the songs.

2. Some of the animated musicals (e.g. Lion King or The Little Mermaid) might be written in an acceptable format. I could not find any of them downloadable on line, but you might check with script companies like Script City to see if you can order a hard copy.

If someone reading this has more experience in this area, help….

October 9

When Screenwriting Gets To You…. (Classic Post)

Photo by Svadilfari @ flickr.com
Having to listen to studio execs tell you how to write can affect you. Take William W. “Bill” Norton, a successful screenwriter who penned the scripts for “The Scalphunters” (directed by Sydney Pollack), “White Lightning” and “Gator” (both starring Burt Reynolds) and others. Perhaps after one too many sets of notes, he retired from screenwriting and became a leftist gunrunner in South America and then in Ireland. Now, he’s passed away. Read his obit here.