“I became a journalist to come as close as possible to the heart of the world.” – Henry Luce

Monday, 7 February 2011

Television Script & Radio Script Writing

Television Script
·         Television writing is a difficult business and requires a lot of hard work.  This guide on how to write a television script .

Step 1: Watch and Read... A Lot
If we don't like to watch television, then hopefully we have the common sense not to write for TV.  Because when we're a scriptwriter, it pays to watch a lot of television. Here are some tips on what to watch and what to look for when we're watching: Don't just limit ourself to one genre or format. Watch a wide variety of shows.   
Take notes on our reactions at first. Write down what we liked and disliked as a viewer: when were we bored, when did we laugh, when did we lose interest and start flipping through a magazine. What happened right before a commercial break, and were we itching to find out what happened next.

Step 2: Pick a Genre, Any Genre

There are some rules that are true of any television show, but each genre also has its own conventions. Once we know what genre we want to write in, it's time to study that genre in depth. Do our research and if our genre requires special knowledge, start studying. For example, if you really want to write police procedurals, it's a good idea to have a passing acquaintance with police regulations.

Figure out how our idea stands out from the crowd. How is it different from the shows already on the market? We need to be able to express this in a succinct sentence or two at the most, which is called a Log line. A logline needs to differentiate us from all of the other shows on the market. It should be brief, to the point, and it should stress what's special about our show. By developing our logline first, we have a chance to hone our idea and make it as unique and compelling as possible without going completely overboard.

Step 3: Outline our Plot

Get some ideas about the standard act structure for our genre. If Rules can be broken, but we ought to have a good reason for doing it. Once we've settled on a structure, outline our story. Choose a format that works best for us: index cards, spiral bound notebooks, computer, and crayon, whatever. Write down the basic actions that will happen in each act.  Determine where the commercial breaks will lie and make sure that the action leading into the commercial is compelling enough to make viewers stay tuned.

Step 4: Develop our Characters

A good character can really make or break a TV show, and some of the best shows have the most memorable characters. Ex. Gopi Nath in Neeya Naana).  Make the most of our characters to add depth to our show. Keep a list of mannerisms, favorite phrases, and other details. Catchphrases can be very powerful tools when developing a character. Although we might spend days or even weeks working on a character background, that doesn't mean that we need to cram all of that information into the script..

Step 5: Write Like the Wind

A lot of people talk about wanting to be writers but never put their pen to paper or fingers to the keyboard. Decide how often we want to write and then stick to our schedule get it done as our goal .

Step 6: Use the Right Format  

Script formatting software is available and makes the process as easy as possible, but of course there's a cost associated with most programs. We can also hand-format. Whatever we do, make sure that we follow the conventions. Otherwise, we reduce our chances of success. The most popular programs include:
·         Celtx free software
·         Final Draft
·         Movie Magic Screenwriter
If we're determined to format by hand, we'll need a scriptwriting format book or website. We can find a lot of resources online these days. The rules are too long to list here, but here's a sample of what we'll need to do:
·         Scenes are numbered and start with what's called a slugline: the location and time of day.
·         Scenes start with FADE IN:
·         Character names are capitalized.
·         Dialogue is capitalized and double spaced.

Step 6: Revise Until Our Head Spins

·         First, we'll need to focus on the big stuff.
·         Confirm does the plot make logical sense.
·         To see whether  tension increase as the plot moves forward.
·          To find is there a satisfying resolution?
·         Are the technical details accurate? Look them up; we need to know for sure.
·         Is it the right length?
·         Do our commercial breaks hit at the right place page wise?
·         Now it's time to fine tune.
·         Tighten our dialogue.
·         Make sure every word counts. Cut out the excess.
·         Proofread for typos and grammatical mistakes.
For help with revisions, why not join a critique group or writer's group. Other writers can help, point out problems and potential solutions that we're just too close to our work to see clearly.


With some hard work, who knows? We could be the next Seth MacFarlane or J.J. Abrams, Jeya Mohan, Sujatha and Gracy Mohan.

Radio Script Writing

Radio is short. We have to write something that fits into a 30- or 60-second slot.  Not a lot of time or a lot of words. In that 30 or 60 seconds, we need to capture the listener's attention, absolutely no extra words allowed. Be brutal. Cut out anything we don't need. In fact, radio is where we first learned to start cutting "that" out.  Most "thats" we don't need, and nothing shows we this like radio.

Focus on writing shorter sentences and simpler sentences with use  of simple words . Vary our sentences. Start by keeping it under a general word count -- 100 words for a 30-second and 190 words for a 60-second spot.  Finished your first draft now read it. And time our self. (Those clocks on the computer desktop are great for this.)

Script should be moving. The shorter and crisper sentences and narration are necessary, and phrases made more concise. As we can imagine, writing radio has really honed our editing skills. Sentences that are too long and don't allow us to take a breath; sentences that don't flow properly; long, complicated five-dollar words that twist the tongue in a knot and much, much more.

Script should be live.We are writing for the ear. Writing for the ear is different than writing for the eye. The eye is far more forgiving. The ear is brutal. The ear catches everything .Wide vocabulary visualizes the images at great extent which help to hold the listeners firmly.

Script should be completely natural. In radio broadcast one is talking not reading. His sound should seem as natural.

Script should be market oriented. The main criterion of the script should be the need of the market. That is the script should taste good to the listeners. For this purpose script should be simple and effective.



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