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Author Topic: Fortnightly Writing Competition: All the World's a Stage (Results)  (Read 964 times)

Sinitrena

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... to avoid missing the *GASP* 3 day deadline for voting.

I'm not sure how to take this. Is it:
- *gasp* the deadline was so long and I still had problems voting in time!
- *gasp* the deadline was so short, how could you? Don't force me to read so fast!
- *gasp* the deadline was three days. I really didn't realize it's been three days already.

Anyways, you can ask for an extension of the voting deadline too, you know.  (nod)


But you did get your votes in and you did so with time to spare, so let's get down to business.

Mandle: Your first and second version are not very different from a plot point of view, or from the amount of dialogue you provided. The difference is mainly in the amount and descriptiveness of the stage directions. Unfortunately, I don't think you improved your piece - from a purely technical point of view. Stage directions are not orders for the FX crew, their job is not to give a detailed explanation of how a trick is done. Simply put, they demand, they do not explain. Of course, stuff like that varies from play to play and author to author, but I just think you went way too far. On the other hand, your first version had just the right amount of stage directions - they set the scene, they intervened when a specific action that needed to take place was not clear from the spoken word, and they left the right amount of interpretation for the director. From a plot point of view, I'm hocked. I would watch this play and I would probably be engaged from the beginning, so kudos.

Baron: Where Mandle went too far, you provided too little. It's not necessary to explain every movement of a character's hand or every intonation, but some information should be there: they are in a saloon, but are there other people? Do I need extras to fill all the tables, or is it empty except for the two talking? Is the barman around? (The answer to that is yes, because he suddenly speaks at one point, but that should have been told to the reader beforehand. As a director, you want to know at the beginning whih actors you need.) I liked your use of the classic theater technique of aside/aloud and the poetic dialogue. In general, I enjoyed the little backstory you provided, though I have to point out that it also made you break the rules (maybe): You did not offer one completed scene, but started in the middle of one. As for the plot itself, I found the backstory more interesting than the actual play.

JudasFm: Your formating didn't work out too great. Like Baron, I had problems recognizing stage directions for what they are. Honestly, I wonder why such a format (with centered text too) is used for film scripts. I think it's incredibly difficult to read. Anyways, that has nothing to do with the writing itself, so I'll ignore it. I think you had slightly too many, or too detailed, unnecessary stage directions. They often didn't read like something in a play but what the director would tell to his actors. For example: Kawamoto stares at him. His world's starting to fall down around him. such a reference to the emotional state of a character seemed slightly out of place, especially considering that this is pretty clear from the dialogue itself. The whole time reading your text, I wondered if the title was supposed to refer to the whole play or just this scene. Considering your plot seems to be a fairly generic murder mystery, "Confession" seems like a weird title - but scenes usualy don't get titles at all, so...

I wish you all had taken (more) advantege of the option to explain a bit what happens before and after your scenes, to give some more context.

My votes:

Most Distinct Voice: JudasFm, by a whisker. Mandle's was also pretty good.
Best Play: JudasFm, despite a bit of oversharing  ;)
Best Writing: Baron, I really liked your attempt at poetry.
Best Plot: Mandle, I liked JudasFm's too but I just got the impression because this scene was near to the end and the mystery didn't seem that deep, that the scenes before would contain a lot of padding.

And with that, we have a winner:


JudasFm wins with 9 points


In second place we have Baron with 6 points.


Mandle reaches a close third place with 5 points.

JudasFm

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JudasFm: Your formating didn't work out too great. Like Baron, I had problems recognizing stage directions for what they are. Honestly, I wonder why such a format (with centered text too) is used for film scripts. I think it's incredibly difficult to read.

Actually, no. It's only the actor's lines that are centered; everything else is left-justified. So if I were to write some of the lines script-style, it would be:
Quote
HIKARI
He alone?

TAIYOU
Yeah.

Taiyou slams the door shut behind them and leans against it. Kawamoto jumps and spins around.

TAIYOU
(CONT'D)
Problem?

Since you can easily tell what you're looking at by glancing at where the sentences are on the page, it's incredibly easy to read. It's harder here because most PC screens are wider than a sheet of A4, and without italics/brackets such as Mandle used, it's difficult to tell where the entry stops and the author comments kick in  (laugh) Like I said, it was my bad in formatting.

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I think you had slightly too many, or too detailed, unnecessary stage directions. They often didn't read like something in a play but what the director would tell to his actors. For example: Kawamoto stares at him. His world's starting to fall down around him. such a reference to the emotional state of a character seemed slightly out of place, especially considering that this is pretty clear from the dialogue itself.

To a certain extent, it depends on the writer - some will include more than others - but this really is how it's done in scripts, both theater and screenplay, and in a real script, you would actually expect to see more of this ;) It's not the director's job to tell the actors how to read a certain line (and some actors can get pretty upset if this happens) any more than it's the director's job to tell the cameraman how to operate his camera. The director's job is to plan out all the angles they want of a particular scene, then tell the cameraman to make it happen. Likewise, the writer gives the actor a little context (this is what your character's thinking and why they react the way they do) and the director makes sure they're doing it right. Bear in mind that the majority of directors - ie, anyone who isn't James Cameron or Steven Spielberg - won't be working with their own scripts, but with someone else's and often in a genre they're not particularly keen on (one of my director friends in LA specializes in psychological thriller, and on one Skype call he spent some twenty minutes yelling at me because the company he works for assigned him a romantic screenplay to direct  :P)

What they also do, however, is try different ways of doing the same thing ("Hey, Kawamoto? That scene where you threw the leaflets was great, but this time I'd like you to try marching right up to Ueda and shoving them in his face.")

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The whole time reading your text, I wondered if the title was supposed to refer to the whole play or just this scene. Considering your plot seems to be a fairly generic murder mystery, "Confession" seems like a weird title - but scenes usualy don't get titles at all, so...

Yeah, it referred to the scene (laugh) I suck at titles, but it was the best I could think of.

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Best Plot: Mandle, I liked JudasFm's too but I just got the impression because this scene was near to the end and the mystery didn't seem that deep, that the scenes before would contain a lot of padding.

Well, it doesn't make any difference to the result so I guess it doesn't matter, but I feel it's pretty harsh that you seemed to base this decision on scenes you never even read. Granted, there was nothing stopping me from giving everyone a Cliff Notes version, and I should have done, but even if I'd laid out all the red herrings and problems Ueda puts in Kawamoto's way (bear in mind he's far more experienced than naive rookie Kawamoto, so he would be capable of a) misleading people and b) destroying/fabricating evidence) and the tensions and prejudices that both the cops and the hosts have to overcome before they can even start to work together to solve this mystery, it still shouldn't have had any bearing on this. It's like if I read someone's entry and said, "Yeah, I liked it, but I think that this is going to happen next in the story and that doesn't work for me, so I'm not voting for it."

Since it's hard to judge tone over the internet, I'll add that I'm really not trying to change any decisions or cause any problems or offense here :) I just wanted to throw my two cents into the ring.

And with that (as you so aptly put it) a huge thanks to everyone who was kind enough to vote for me, and the next contest will be up very soon!  (laugh)

Baron

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Congratulations to JudasFm for a well-deserved win, and congratulations to Mandle for a timely resurrection!   ;-D

I blame my poor showing at stage directions on all the Shakespeare I had to read back in school.  His stage directions are basically limited to enter/exit, aside/aloud, and dies.  Well, except at the beginning of scenes, but lucklessly that part of the play didn't survive....  ;)

See you all next time!

Sinitrena

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Quote
To a certain extent, it depends on the writer - some will include more than others - but this really is how it's done in scripts, both theater and screenplay, and in a real script, you would actually expect to see more of this

Actually, in my experiance that's not the case. As a matter of fact, that's one of the differences between a play and a movie script: For some reason, movie scripts contain a lot of comentary on a character's state of mind and inner turmoil, while in theater that usually is left to the director.

An example:
These:
Spoiler: ShowHide
SCENE III. A churchyard; in it a tomb belonging to the Capulets.
Enter PARIS, and his Page bearing flowers and a torch
Retires
The Page whistles
Retires
Enter ROMEO and BALTHASAR, with a torch, mattock, & c
Retires
Opens the tomb
Comes forward
They fight
Exit
Falls
Dies
Laying PARIS in the tomb
Drinks
Dies
Enter, at the other end of the churchyard, FRIAR LAURENCE, with a lantern, crow, and spade
Advances
Enters the tomb
JULIET wakes
Noise within
Noise again
Exit FRIAR LAURENCE
Kisses him
Snatching ROMEO's dagger
Stabs herself
Falls on ROMEO's body, and dies
Enter Watch, with the Page of PARIS
Re-enter some of the Watch, with BALTHASAR
Re-enter others of the Watch, with FRIAR LAURENCE
Enter the PRINCE and Attendants
Enter CAPULET, LADY CAPULET, and others
Enter MONTAGUE and others
Exeunt

are litterary all stage directions of the very emotional last scene of Romeo and Juliett, the one where everyone kills themselves. There's not a single reference to how a character feels, because this is all in the spoken text, nor is there any description of what a fight looks like, because that is of no importance for the way the story progresses. It's important that people fight, not how.

But you are certainly right that this depends very much on the writer.

Oh, and I'm not trying to argue. Votes and comments are subjective, after all.  :-*

Quote
Quote
Best Plot: Mandle, I liked JudasFm's too but I just got the impression because this scene was near to the end and the mystery didn't seem that deep, that the scenes before would contain a lot of padding.

Well, it doesn't make any difference to the result so I guess it doesn't matter, but I feel it's pretty harsh that you seemed to base this decision on scenes you never even read.

If it sounded like that was the only reason or the main reason for this vote, I appologize. Just based on the text itself, I had you as a tie, and then my decision was based on what has more potential, as the last deciding factor.
« Last Edit: 24 Jun 2019, 12:23 by Sinitrena »

JudasFm

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Actually, in my experiance that's not the case. As a matter of fact, that's one of the differences between a play and a movie script: For some reason, movie scripts contain a lot of comentary on a character's state of mind and inner turmoil, while in theater that usually is left to the director.
[...]all stage directions of the very emotional last scene of Romeo and Juliett, the one where everyone kills themselves. There's not a single reference to how a character feels, because this is all in the spoken text, nor is there any description of what a fight looks like, because that is of no importance for the way the story progresses. It's important that people fight, not how.

To be fair, styles do change over 400 years or so (laugh) I've seen both styles of script used in the theater, but I did a quick search of more modern scripts and you're right that skimpy directions do seem to be more the order of the day ;) It's probably something to do with the fact that shooting schedules can be (and usually are) hellish; there just isn't time for the director to think up thoughts and emotions. Plus, you're shooting in completely random order, and very often only for about 5-10 seconds at a time, so the actors need to know instantly what's going through their character's head at that point in the script 8-)


Sinitrena

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It's probably something to do with the fact that shooting schedules can be (and usually are) hellish; there just isn't time for the director to think up thoughts and emotions. Plus, you're shooting in completely random order, and very often only for about 5-10 seconds at a time, so the actors need to know instantly what's going through their character's head at that point in the script 8-)

That might be. I always assumed it had something to do with the fact that you get one movie out of a film script but infinite (different) perfomances out of a play script, leading to the need for the author to accertain his or her vision more thoroughly.

Considering I used Shakespeare as an example, for fairness sake I should also point out that the bard directed his own plays, so there was less need to describe stuff in what he wrote down.

JudasFm

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It's probably something to do with the fact that shooting schedules can be (and usually are) hellish; there just isn't time for the director to think up thoughts and emotions. Plus, you're shooting in completely random order, and very often only for about 5-10 seconds at a time, so the actors need to know instantly what's going through their character's head at that point in the script 8-)

That might be. I always assumed it had something to do with the fact that you get one movie out of a film script but infinite (different) perfomances out of a play script, leading to the need for the author to accertain his or her vision more thoroughly.

One movie, a zillion different takes and camera angles :-D Ever see a scene in a movie where Character A opens the front door and has a short, maybe 30-second conversation with Character B standing on the porch? And the camera cuts back and forth between the two faces? Yeah...the shooting schedule for that would go something like this:

1. Shoot the whole thing from start to finish with the camera behind Character A's shoulder.
2. Shoot the whole thing from start to finish with the camera directly in front of Character B to get Character A's POV, while Character A delivers their lines from next to the cameraman.
3. See #2, but instead of seeing all of Character B, this time only shoot the actor from the waist up.
4. See #3, only this time shoot Character B from the chest up.
5. See #4. This time, shoot Character B in close-up.
6. If you want a particular reaction shot (grimace, puzzled look, sneeze, scowl, etc) from Character B, shoot each one individually.
7. Move all the equipment to the other side of the set.
8. Repeat Stages #1-6, only this time with Character A as the main focus.
9. Pray to the gods of movie-making that nobody sneezes, gets a phone call, burps, rustles papers or farts during the take, and that the actors don't screw up their lines. Either one will mean you have to repeat the current stage from the beginning. If it's the beginning of the day, you're good, but if you're getting towards the end and the actors are exhausted, you can bet there'll be a blooper or two.
10. Get all your reaction shots, and all your takes, and spend a couple hours in an editing suite mixing and matching every take from every camera into a cohesive whole. (Okay, we have editors who actually do the dirty work, but the director's looking over their shoulder telling them to put this bit there, or drop in the close-up when Character A says this line etc).

And that's not even counting the numerous dry runs and extra takes (laugh) With all that in mind, the director can't exactly call CUT halfway through a take just to give the actors direction :P

Sinitrena

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Quote
One movie, a zillion different takes and camera angles :-D

True, but still just one final product. Even remakes use newly written scripts, after all.

Quote
With all that in mind, the director can't exactly call CUT halfway through a take just to give the actors direction :P

In theater, a director also can't exactly call "Stop" in the middle of a performance...

That's what rehearsals are for - in both mediums, I think.


Simply put, while there are of course similarities, a play and a movie script are not the same and therefore use different methods to convey their meaning - and that's the point I was trying to make the whole time.  ;)

WHAM

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I had to skip this one, due to working on the final beta testing of a game. Things seem to be leveling off, so I should be able to join in on the next one.
Congrats to JudasFm for the win!
My Fortnightly Writing Competition collected works
https://goo.gl/VUQbzU

Mandle

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I liked Mandle's part 1 a lot, but I think part 2 was rather meh. I don't like special effects in theater, most of the time they look ridiculous and I didn't get what this was about anyway.

Very nice feedback!

Act One was a play I submitted for a local contest when I was about 14 years old. Well, it is the submission as best as I remember it. I didn't win and never continued the story and then a bunch of movies came out around the same time about seemingly mundane or even mentally disabled people turning out to be geniuses in their own way: Rain Man, Malcolm, Good Will Hunting, etc. so the story became redundant.

The original story came from something my father told me which I still don't know was true or not.

The joke about him asking for his coffee "brown" when asked "black or white?" was the height of my young wit, and I still thought it was pretty amusing so I left it in.

After re-writing the first act I came up with the second act on the fly but I didn't think it was very strong. But once it was out it was out.
« Last Edit: 28 Jun 2019, 16:13 by Mandle »