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FILM SCRIPT: A STUDY OF TECHNIQUES

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1  Background to the Study

A Script is a document that outlines every aural, visual, behavioural and lingual element required to tell a story. The script, or screenplay, outlines all the elements (audio, visual, behaviour and dialogue) that are required to tell a story through film. A script is almost never the work of a single person. Instead, it will go through revision and rewrites and ultimately will be interpreted by the producers, directors and actors. Film is a visual medium. This means that the research work is presenting a script in a way that encompasses the visual and auditory aspects of the story. Consequently, a script is the foundation of any production and occupies an important place in the success of any production.

According to Curran (2004:5):

Script writing is the art and craft of writing script for mass media such as feature film, television productions or video genres. It is frequently freelance profession. Screenwriters are responsible for researching the story, developing the narrative, writing the screenplay and delivering it in the required format, to development executives. Screenwriters therefore have great influence over creative direction and emotional impact of the screenplay.

Gulino (2004:3) states that, “screenwriters are commissioned by a producer to create a screenplay from a concept, true story, existing screen work or literary work, such as a novel, poem, play, comic book or short story”.

According to Robert A.B. (1988:7), “…a screenplay is also a structural plan for a motion picture encompassing seven primary components which are story, plot (structure), scenes, character, dialogue, emotional action and physical action…” Therefore, a screenwriter must adhere to the unique screen play form, the terse style of writing and demonstrate a great precision and skill in structuring and executing the story within a specific number of pages. Screenplay is a vision of the writer’s imagination and one of the influential medium there is in society today. While film is a collaborative art form dependent upon the skills and talents of many artists and technicians, the strength of every film project is in the screenplay. It is therefore crucial to remember that, preparing a script beforehand make the difference between a bad film and a good film.

1.2  Objective of the Study

The objective of this research is to examine the various techniques in creating a film script or a screenplay and elaborate on the components and elements involved in creating a screenplay or film script.

1.3  Rationale

It is true that many researches have been carried out on this topic across the globe. However, there is still no proper foundation on this subject matter among scholars, due to lack of basic foundational knowledge in writing of film or screenplay.

It is therefore, to this end that this timely and vital research work is being carried out to help students, especially those in Department of Theatre Arts to surmount the challenges of writing a good film or screenplay.

1.4  Significance of the Study

This research will be useful to undergraduates in Theatre Arts Department who are interested in becoming a screenwriter and generally to prospective screen writers and researchers who come across it.

1.5  Scope of the Study

The scope of this study is on film script and its techniques. The study is therefore limited to:

  • The history of scripting
  • History of screenplay
  • Theories, dramatic components and elements of screenplay
  • Techniques the researcher used in writing the play

1.6  Methodology

This research employs the Historical, Literary and Artistic methodologies. The Historical method traces the beginnings that is, the origin of film or screen script, its role and current development.

The literary method review literature from different journals, books related to the research topics and online articles.

The Artistic methodology employs creative ability which propels the unseen action into a transmittable action on the screen.

1.7  Limitation of the Study

Throughout the period of this study, several problems were encountered. Some of them include lack of access to essential textbooks, journals and magazines on the subject matter.

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