by Hank Isaac
When the reader (Campbell Scott) read dialogue, everything was cool. But when he read descriptions, exposition, and thoughts, everything ground to a halt with me.
The reading of dialogue generally takes place more or less in real time. But everything else – by necessity – takes far longer. If something we’re supposed to see is described, the description of it takes far longer than it would actually take for us to see it.
So I tune out.
It’s probably why I fall asleep during action scenes in films or TV series – I’ve seen cars flying through the air, people leaping, guns blazing…, etc. I get it. Right away. Very few surprises. Yawn! Wake me when there’s something at stake.
Why am I posting this here? Because in writing a screenplay or teleplay, I suspect we should keep all this in mind. Think about how a reader will get to see or understand the image or action a line or paragraph of description is trying to create in his mind.
Then ask: Have I forced the reader into repetitive wait states because he needs to experience the world or moment faster than I’m actually delivering it to him?