The Film Director’s Creative Script Analysis

by Peter D. Marshall

When you first get your script, find a nice quite place and just read it through once – from start to finish. Your first pass is to get an idea of what the story is about, where it takes place and who the characters are. This is when you form your first impressions of the story and it is probably the only time you will ever enjoy the script as a story – because from now on it’s all work!!

Then, read the script again (and again, and again…) and start making notes and jotting down the answers to the following questions:

1. what is your emotional reaction to the story? (how you feel when you read certain scenes or dialogue)

2. what images does the story stimulate in you? (visuals, shots, colors)

3. how are the ideas and the theme in the story expressed? (write down in one sentence what the theme or main ides of the story is to you)

4. what is a dramatic metaphor for the story? (symbols, colors)

5. who are the characters? (what are their internal and external traits/character background/their relationships to other characters

6. what are the character objectives? (what do they want and need/what are their main actions)

7. does the story logically add up? (does the time line work)

8. what happens next? (do you anticipate this answer or is it a surprise)

9. what is the climactic scene? (the scene involving the main characters – protagonist and antagonist – at which point the end result is no longer in doubt)

10. where are the potential problem areas (time and budget restraints – re: stunts. visual FX, choreography etc)

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Want to Learn More Film and Television Directing Tips and Techniques? Check out Peter D. Marshall’s 2008 multi-media reference guide for filmmakers, The Art and Craft of the Director 10-Day Audio Seminar – a 162 page eBook packed full of insider film directing tips and tools supported by over 500 film making reference links, 26 mp3 audio files, 28 video links and 23 pdf special reports all designed to help you become a successful, working film and television director.

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