INTENSIFYING THE MOMENT
SCRIPTING & DIRECTOR & ACTOR: Discover the intense moments within your scenes. Fiction plays are not like real life. Real life crams in so many more events in a mass of experience. Plays make events and actions significant. Fiction leaves out the boring bits of life - life that goes on and on. Fiction creates the impression of real life. Get the emotion and intensity of a situation by 'intensifying the moment'. You earn this in quality of scripting and in production. RESEARCH: Note from films, TV and radio. As a listener, you get the impression of 'staying in the moment'. That INTENSE MOMENT earns its place. This is NOT due to repetition - not due to characters repeating themselves. You convey the meaning of the scene through a single crucial 'shot' (short sequence for a radio play). SCRIPTING: Develop the variations of what a character says in this INTENSE MOMENT. Use your imagination to discover what they would say. SO MORE SCRIPT IS NEEDED TO INTENSIFY THE MOMENT. Film & TV most often relies on the visual track to give this intensity, exploring the character's face in high emotion, beyond words. Radio drama needs those intensifying words. You have to give your characters and the situation more space - more words. Discover the style of the play or the soap you are scripting. The STYLE (such as a farce episode or a sympathetic revealing episode or a thriller climax) demands a RHYTHM in the scripting. Students, scripting for the first time, must be encouraged to discover the intense moment. In such a first draft, the intense moment can be over too soon. Stay with it. Respond to the challenge of discovering the characters in the intense moment.
HIGH EMOTION - HOW DOES A CHARACTER SPEAK? Discover this from real life, from your imagination, from other fiction works.
STRUCTURE THE MOMENT - climb up the tense seconds, one by one, pile on the pressure. 'CLIMB UP THE LADDER' as it is called on this site. Discover what each step is for the character(s). Do not jump into the centre of the MOMENT too soon. You will give your actors valuable script to realise.
Shock tactics - use an intriguing first phrase. Then explain it. So the first rung of the EMOTIONAL LADDER has the emotional character recollecting or deep within themselves - summarising. For example, 'I only wanted her to be safe'. This is the FIRST EMOTIONAL PHRASE. Then it is followed by explanation: 'That's why I locked her away'. This allows the other character in the dialogue to question and to draw out the explanation.
Get the contrast between the speech style of emotion (chopped up, no context and explanation given - straight into it - it comes from deep inside) and the speech style of explanation and even logic. WHERE IS THE INTENSE MOMENT PLACED IN THE SCRIPT? Take especial care with the climax of a scene. SCRIPTS MUST BE READ ALOUD. Invite feedback from others and redrafting. Scripting is NOT a solitary activity.
Here are the techniques for intensifying the moment:
Identify these intense moments in the scene - one or more. Do you need more script to intensify the moment? Discover how characters speak in high emotion. STRUCTURE THE MOMENT - 'CLIMB UP THE LADDER' - on the Acting Site - LADDER OF EMOTIONS - you must reveal the full process of your character's emotions Use the intriguing FIRST EMOTIONAL PHRASE Contrast the speech style of emotion and the speech style of explanation Get the contrast between the EMOTIONAL CHARACTER (vulnerable or aggressive) and the other character (supportive friend or under attack). 'Nudging' via 'total' mise-en-scène techniques.
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