John August & Craig Mazin of Scriptnotes are developing (or at least talking about) a new format for screenplays. They are not talking about a new file extension, they want to change they way screenplays look, feel and are read. I find the whole idea intriguing and I want to offer my two cents.
When trying to do something new, I always think about what exactly I want. So what do I want from a screenplay format.
– more control over how the screenplay looks
– easier way to convey movement and camera directions
– better way to handle a location changes within a scene or sequence
– more options when it comes to dialogue
Generally speaking, I want screenplays to be easier to write/format, to look prettier and I want ways to be less vague about my intentions without using to much words. I know parts of this are just being a good writer, but if the format helps who am I to say no to that.
Since most screenplays are read on a computer or a tablet, it is with considering adding a dynamic element to the format. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want the format to turn into a design exercise but giving the reader options on how to read/experience the story could be fun. Maybe there’s a way to require an input before revealing something “worth revealing”. Or, page changes could indicate how something ist cut. ist it a “FADE IN” -the next page fades in; Hard CUT…you get the idea.
Or we just skip all that and focus on the words. Keep ist simple. This part of the screen/page is reserved to what we see, that part deals with the dialogue and other sounds and a third part is for comments and notes.
There are thousands of possibilities how this could turn out and I’m really interested in the outcome. Let’s hope it works out and maybe it will change the industry.