Friday, September 27, 2013

The Fascination Of Reading The Script While Watching The Motion Picture (OR Nerd Alert! Nerd Alert!)

This might be an incredibly nerdy thing to do, but if I can get my hands on the script of the movie or TV-series episode I'm watching, I will read and watch it at the same time.

Is there anybody else out there who does this? I'm sure there are other movie-/TV- and or sreenwriter-freaks out there who do, but so far I've met none. When I tell people that I do this, their faces turn into question marks. Why would you need to read the script? they want to know. You're watching the movie, you know what they're saying.

Except it's not quite that simple. A script is mostly dialogue. It's he-said she-said and some description, because in a motion picture especially, it's all about showing, not telling. In a film, you can only convey a character's feelings by showing them: a nervous tick, teary eyes, a big smile. No "feeling-sads" or "heart-sinking-to-knees" or "big-balls-of-rages-in-guts". A good scriptwriter can convey such feelings by showing them and the better the scriptwriter, the less is open for interpretation. Yet there always remains a lot of space for individuality and imagination: the director's, the actor's, even the camera-man's. This isn't a bad thing: a good actor can play the scene very differently from what the scriptwriter had in mind and still blow the audience away with the performance.

But that's the point: if a hundred people read the script, the descriptions and dialogue in black-on-white, you will get a hundred different opinions on how the movie must look, and none of them would be wrong. Except there is (usually) only one movie made based on the script; only one version of many different peoples' interpretations of the script, and it's never quite what the scriptwriter imagined - unless maybe he directs it himself.

Basically, I find it fascinating to compare the two, to know that the script came first and to see how it was translated onto the screen. For me, the fascination lies in the translation. 

So, for those of you who might now be intrigued and want to try this out - seriously, it's fun and fascinating and gives you more moments of "Huh, interesting" than you might believe - here are the sites I head to to find the script to what I'm watching. I'm afraid not every script to every movie or episode ever made is out there for grabs, but definitely a decent amount.

For movies I usually go to The Internet Movie Script Database or Simply Scripts, which has both movies and TV-series episodes. For the latter, I also head to TV-Writing.

Any other good websites for movie-and-TV-scripts out there?

And please, somebody, tell me you do this, too. I know you want to... I know you're out there...


  1. Ok. I'm going to confess. I don't do this - well, I didn't do this until tonight. I'm doing this tonight. You make it sound like too much fun to miss.

    1. It's sooo much fun. :-)
      Have you done it yet? (I'll ask on Friday, in case you don't see this (late) reply by then)