How can you assure your screenplay’s vision gets realized?
31. Manage – don’t micromanage – your creative team
Are you a psychotic control freak? If you answered yes, this one’s for you. First up, just cut that out! Secondly: come on, cut it out. And last? Dude, seriously, cut it out.
We’ve written this little article just to make 100% certain you can spot if you’re micromanaging or not.
Do’s and dont’s
Do not write camera angles and directions in your script! We understand your need to convey the importance of a closeup of a crooked smile from your devious antagonist the protagonist does not know is her enemy yet.
This is how not to write it:
MID-SHOT of Mary losing concentration to CLOSE UP of her coat’s loose thread. EXTREME CLOSE UP of Darnell’s mouth twisting into a crooked smile.
Here’s how you should write it:
Mary loses concentration to a loose thread in her coat; Darnell’s mouth twists into a crooked smile.
Any director with half a brain is more than equipped to realize that a closeup and an extreme closeup might be necessary for this scene.
And . . . action!
Action writers are even worse, commonly getting camera-happy and directing the hell out of action sequences. It’s only natural, as their instinct is for high-octane, snappily edited sequences.
However, you’re still stepping on the director’s toes. If a director has chosen your script, it’ll usually be because they have experience directing action or at least love for the genre. He or she knows what shots are needed.
This is not to say you can’t write suspensefully. Use tricks like frequent scene headings to keep the action moving from room to room, and short, punchy sentences to create a furious pace. If in doubt, read a load of great action screenplays and see how the masters do it.
Direction = micromanaging
An excellent technique to rid your script of micromanaging poison is to give it a readthrough, specifically on the lookout with a fine tooth comb for needless direction. Keep asking yourself: am I stepping on another department’s toes here?
This will aid you in refining the role of the writer. Writing is a niche. Become undeniably amazing in that niche – don’t let stupid mistakes like micromanaging ruin your reputation. Just be the best writer you can be!
Print off your final script if you haven’t already. Kick back, grab a brewski or a cuppa tea, and read through all your hard work. Bask in your excellence!
We’re getting teary with how proud we are. Well done – go take on the world!