The Company of Wolves - example of scripting prologue

This was a student project - and I give some excerpts from the adaptation the student made of this Angela Carter short story.

The story was also made into a marvellous film.

ORIGINAL SCRIPT - STUDENT'S FIRST DRAFT

NOTES ON REDRAFTING (BY TEACHER)

STUDENT'S SECOND DRAFT - TAKING ON NOTES

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THIS IS HOW THE STUDENT BEGAN THE SCRIPT:

1ST SECTION

(FX WOLF HOWL)

(FX UNDERSCORING MUSIC. HEAVY BREATHING, SOUNDS OF MAN RUNNING THROUGH THE FOREST)

Before he may become a wolf, the lycanthrope strips stark naked.

(FX STRIPPING OF CLOTHING MIXED WITH HEAVY BREATHING)
(FX HEARTBEAT)

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 MY NOTE: This is too suddenly into the piece. Look at my notes about PROLOGUE.

You might think of having a prologue with a mix of certain themes - anyway, you have to begin with music!? Surely? I strongly advise a music opening.
Establish relationship with NARRATOR by some line or more at the top? Get the mood of the piece and who the narrator is - confiding? menacing? going against the script? ironic and amusing? Something about changing into wolves - because 'lycanthrope' comes in suddenly - and what about the listener who does not know what this word is? This is an unusual word - and the listener can be put off immediately by a strange and confusing word.

Take up my idea of mixing this with the CD or tape of a children's version of the story?? Buy a commercial children's cassette or CD of the 'Red Riding Hood' story. This will make an ironic counterpoint to the Angela Carter version.

Think more about the most important thematic sound effects - what three or four are the most important and work on these for the symbol system.
Use single significant words.
Overlapping dialogue.
Overlapping and repeating same key words and phrases.
Music - with repeating beat to give rhythm to whole.
Think through overall structure. How can you give markers to parts of this structure, and to give the listeners the feeling of that structure?

Prologue - here are some suggestions - wolf howl, FX of rushing, a laugh, a sampled audio section from a children's version of 'Little Red Riding Hood'.

ALSO:

Think of the overall design. Is this a 'through composed' piece? That means - there are no silences between scenes, and there are cross-fades between scenes or music bridges between scenes. Or you may want one or more significant silences. A silence like this is very useful. Because it allows the listeners to catch up, to think back on what they have heard - to put it all together so far. And it enables you to build to something very significant about to come - as the climactic scene. So the whole piece sweeps up to the main climactic scene, and the listener is given the signal to await this - by this significant silence.

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Student's script - again

 

1ST SECTION

(FX WOLF HOWL)

 

(FX UNDERSCORING MUSIC. HEAVY BREATHING, SOUNDS OF MAN RUNNING THROUGH THE FOREST)

Before he may become a wolf, the lycanthrope strips stark naked.

(FX STRIPPING OF CLOTHING MIXED WITH HEAVY BREATHING)
(FX HEARTBEAT)

If you spy a naked man among the pines, you must run as if the devil were after you.

===================================================

Note: I suggest sudden cut to silence and then cut straight into the mad running away.

=====================================================

(HEAVY BREATHING AND HEARTBEAT INCREASES BEFORE COMING TO A SUDDEN HALT)

(FX GUNSHOT)

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Note - gun shot needs to be distant if you want it at all. I don't like gun shots and thunder - unless they are far away - they are sudden maximum peak sounds. They confuse and annoy the listener easily. They may seem obvious choices - but who said that the obvious choice is the right one?

UNDERSCORING MUSIC - beware that this fights against the dialogue and the effects.

=========================================

(UNDERSCORING MUSIC)

NARRATOR: Fear and flee the Wolf; for, worst of all, the wolf may be more than he seems.

2ND SECTION

(FX BIRD TWEETING SOUNDS. GIRL SINGING AND SKIPPING THROUGH THE WOODS)

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Note: Establish the young girl singing - she is important and you have to do the job and spend the time in the piece of establishing her. I suggest a significant music theme for the GIRL - a leitmotif as it is called.

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NARRATOR: It is the worst time in all the year for wolves, but this strong minded child insists she will go off through the wood.
She is quite sure wild beasts cannot harm her, although, well warned.
(FX: RUMAGING THROUGH BASKET)

RED: I shall lay the carving knife in the basket my Mother has packed with Cheeses.

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NOTE: ANOTHER leit-motif for the knife - to establish this and the girl's strength. A one note effect? Or something else?

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NARRATOR: The flaxen haired girl will take delicious gifts to a reclusive grandmother, so old the burden of her years is crushing her to death.

(FX COUGHING OF GRANDMOTHER COUGHING AND SPLUTTERING MIXED IN WITH DISJOINTED STRING MUSIC)

RED: Granny lives three hours trudge through the winter woods.

NARRATOR: It is Christmas Eve. The malign door of the Solstice swings open upon its hinges.

(FX DOOR OPENING FROM HINGES)

But she has been too much loved to feel scared

(Last word repeated?)

(FX BABY CRYING?. ESTABLISHED FOR A FEW MOMENTS AND THEN CUT OFF)

NARRATOR: Children do not stay young for long in this savage country.
They work hard and play wise.
(FX STRUGGLING OF LABOURERS AND LUMBERJACKS IN FOREST)
But this one, so pretty and the youngest of the family, had been indulged by her mother and grandmother who'd…
RED: Knitted me this red shawl that…
NARRATOR: Today had the ominous but pink look of blood on snow. (Repeat end phrase)

RED: My breasts have just begun to swell.

NARRATOR: Her cheeks are on emblematic scarlet and white, and she has just started her woman's bleeding.

(FX CLOCK TICKING)

The clock that will henceforward strike once a month

(FX ALARM BELL RINGS)

NARRATOR: She stands and moves in a pentacle of her own virginity. She is an unbroken egg.

(FX EGG CRACKING)

She is a closed system.

(FX DOOR SLAMMING SHUT)

RED: I have my knife and I am afraid of nothing.

 

 

 

 

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