As promised, this is how I would lay out a video script for the same scenario as last week’s radio play. I’ve taken the part where the Green Giant chooses Englebert, the third under trainee front doorstep polisher at King Charming’s Palace to lead the happy peasants against their royal masters. He’s a cute friendly fellow five and a half short of a six pack.
You may notice that there are no descriptions as such, simply what you see and what is said. I have battled with the ‘show don’t tell’ as a result after writing hundreds of scripts. Writing novels is so very different and I’ve still got a lot to learn.
“Come,” he commanded, “you will lead your people out of bondage. You will liberate their ills. You will speak for all the downtrodden in Charmingdon.”
“Me!” squeaked the man gazing into the Green Giant’s face. “Well, aw right, if yer want me to. I’ve always done as I’m told.”
The Giant pulled the man to his feet and led him to the front, amid cheers, hand clapping and stamping feet. If there were some peasants who looked a little startled by the Giant’s choice, he failed to notice.
“Here is your leader,” he boomed, waving the man’s arms in the air for him. “Greet your Comrade in Charge.” A renewed burst of cheering ensued and under the commotion the Giant bent to ask his name.
“Englebert, sir,” he replied bowing low.
“No!” exclaimed the Giant, “you don’t make obeisance to me, we are all brothers together, one and the same. We share everything, we are all equal.”
“Ooh,” replied Englebert, “can I have this nice coat then?” he fingered the green jacket.
“No, you bloody well can’t,” snapped the august Party emissary, “and get your filthy paws off it, you’re making it all dirty. You can bloody well earn it like I had to.” He slapped away Englebert’s hand and turned to smile at the audience afraid of what they might think of his behaviour.
“Shame,” sighed Englebert, “it’s such a pretty green.”
The Giant turned back to the crowd and held aloft an imperious hand. The peasants subsided and were quiet.
“Now is the time,” he announced, “for your chosen brother to address you all. I give you Comrade Englebert.”
“I don’t know where they all live,” complained Englebert.
THE VIDEO SCRIPT
UNHAPPILY EVER AFTER – VIDEO SCRIPT
|SCENE: PEASANTS MEETING IN HALL|
|SHOT VIDEO AUDIO|
|1.||CU OF GREEN GIANT PULL BACK AS HE WALKS DOWN FROM STAGE|
|2.||REVERSE ANGLE FROM ENGELBERT’S POINT OF VIEW, SHOW GG GETTING LARGER AND MORE THREATENING WITH DOMINANT SHOT.|
|3.||GREEN GIANT PAUSES, LOOKS AROUND FOCUSES ON ENGLEBERT||GG Come! you will lead your people out of bondage. You will liberate their ills. You will speak for all the downtrodden in Charmingdon.|
|4.||CUT TO CROWD LOOKING VERY PUZZLED. SOME LEAN AND WHISPER TO NEIGHBOURS||SFX CROWD: MUTTERING|
|5.||CU OF ENGLEBERT LOOKING VERY WORRIED||ENG: Me!|
|6.||CUT TO CU GREEN GIANT LEANING OVER HIM INTENSE EXPRESSION||GG: YES|
|7.||GG PUTS OUT HAND AND GRASPS ENG BY THE BACK OF HIS JACKET.|
|8.||CUT TO 2 SHOT ENG CRINGING||ENG: Well, aw right, if yer want me to. I’ve always done as I’m told.|
|9.||GG HAULS ENG FROM STOOL AND FROGMARCHES HIM TO STAGE|
|10.||CUTAWAYS TO SHOW CROWD LOOKING APPALLED||ODD CALLS: Go for it Englebert
See how important you’ve become
Go man go!
|11.||PAN ROUND CROWD WHO BEGIN TO STAMP AND CATCALL AND WHISTLE.||You be famous now!
Yeah you lead us in this …
|12.||GG TURNS ENG TO FACE THE CROWD STILL HAS A FIRM HOLD ON HIM|
|13.||QUICK SHOT OF ENG LOOKING TOTALLY BEMUSED. HE DUCKS DOWN AS IF TO RETURN TO SEAT.||GG: (Hisses) Oh no you don’t!|
|14.||SHOT FROM REAR OF HALL AS GG ADDRESSES THEM – ENG IS TRYING TO DUCK DOWN BEHIND HIM||GG: Here is your leader|
|15.||GG TURNS ROUND DRAGS HIM FORWARD AND HOLDS UP HIS ARM|
|16.||CUT OR PAN TO CROWD CHEERING WILDLY, SEVERAL SNIGGERING|
|17.||TWO SHOT OF GG WHISPERING TO ENG||GG: What is your name?
|18.||ENG BOWS LOW TO THE GG||ENG: Englebert, Sir.|
|19.||GG GRABS HIM AND HAULS HIM UPRIGHT||GG: (LOUDLY) No! You don’t make obeisance to me, we are all brothers together, one and the same. We share everything, we are all equal.|
|20.||ENG HUGE SMILE REACHES OUT AND FINGERS GG’S GREEN COAT||ENG: Ooh, can I have this nice coat then?|
|21.||CU GG LOOKS DISGUSTED|
|22.||SIDE SHOT AS GG ANGLES AWAY FROM THE AUDIENCE AND BRUTALLY SLAPS ENG’S HAND OFF HIS COAT.||GG: No, you bloody well can’t, and get your filthy paws off it, you’re making it all dirty. You can bloody well earn it like I had to.|
|23.||2 SHOT OF CROWD AS THEY PEER TO SEE WHAT’S GOING ON|
|24.||CU ENG LOOKS SAD||ENG: Shame. It’s such a pretty green|
|25.||GG TURNS TO AUDIENCE AND SMILES BEATIFICALLY HOLDS HAND UP FOR QUIET||SFX: FACE DOWN CROWD|
|26.||CU GG||Now is the time for your chosen brother to address you all. I give you Comrade Englebert.|
|27.||CU ENG LOOKING TOTALLY MISERABLE TURNS TO ADDRESS GG||ENG: I don’t know where they all live|
You must know by now how ‘untechie’ I am so the columns are not the correct width, but I fiddled for ages and this is the best I can do. There would be a column for timing if you were shooting a documentary that had been pr-scripted as you work to seconds in broadcast, but for a drama you would have a good idea about length from rehearsals.
For interest, an average 46 minute script (that would air for an hour allowing for add breaks) could be easily 10 thousand words.
Just in case you would like to read more, Unhappily Ever After can be found here.
I have news to share but that will have to be next week, this is quite long enough!