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Writer Looking for Advice  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Tue Jun 5th, 2012 11:50 pm
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dollardream
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Mana: 
I've sold one screenplay, have another about to go out.

I think it works wonderfully as a stage play, and really the most difficult part is the conflicting things you read about formatting.

I'll get to that in a moment.

My question is, if anyone is willing to read, is this: Although small casts are preferred, I do see The History Boys has a good 12 cast members. Can this script work if, instead of set decorations, I just have 10 folding chair on an empty stage, and characters relocate for each scene? Also, are lights fading in and out for every scene that much of a distration? Sure, I have 100 scenes in a screenplay, and while it's dialogue-driven and very theatrical in that regard, I can condense scenes, but can scene changes take place without dimming? Can I just have characters move from classroom to an office indicated by exposition like, "You wanted to see me, sir?"

Finally, and this is huge:

In a stage play (as opposed to a screenplay), does the start of a new scene *have* to begin on a new page? Formatting guidelines on-line offer different answers, and I do see that Rabbit Hole adheres to the recommendation of "new scene, new page."

Forgive me for the elementary question(s). The large number of scenes will bloat the page count if each scene must begin a new page.

Any insight you provide would be greatly appreciated.

Script too big to attach. :(

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 Posted: Fri Jun 8th, 2012 08:55 pm
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Bob
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Mana: 
It's difficult to comment without seeing the script. That being said, however, minimal scenery (as you describe) has been successful in other plays: It may work for yours. There is also the choice of an abstract set, which accommodates the many scenes. (For a multi-scene play, like yours, either of these would probably be preferred.)

Regarding cast size: can one actor play several parts?

Generally, blackouts are cumbersome (especially if they come between every scene in a play of almost 100 scenes), however a few well placed blackouts, for emphasis, can be effective.

It might help to work with a director on these points.

Finally, The Dramatist's Guild directory does not specify the formatting of a new page for a new scene, however, this might make the reading easier.

Just my thoughts.

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 Posted: Sat Jun 9th, 2012 10:42 pm
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RTurco
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Mana: 
I agree with all that's been said.

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 Posted: Tue Jun 12th, 2012 09:36 pm
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Louisep at Playwrights Muse
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Mana: 
A play with a lot of blackouts is "Circle Mirror Transformation." I saw the production at the Seattle Rep. The blackouts were long, which I thought detracted from the story. Not so much the blackouts themselves.

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 Posted: Tue Jun 12th, 2012 09:40 pm
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Paddy
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Mana: 
I would let the director worry about the transitions between scenes. I find, more and more blackouts are distracting, like commercials. I do, however, love, dialogue within a blackout...it's exciting.

I myself, don't start a new scene on a new page. Never had any complaints.

Paddy

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 Posted: Thu Jan 31st, 2013 12:25 pm
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grinderwriting
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Mana: 
My thoughts are similar to Bob's - I'd run your script by someone with directing experience and they'll soon tell you what will and won't work.

In terms of a set design I'd keep your descriptions as simple as possible, and let the people working on the actual production use their creative energy to bring your vision to life. For example, I've seen some photos from a couple of different productions of "The Laramie Project" - one was a multi-level, variable-staging production with a seemingly endless number of cast members, while another was a few actors and a row of folding chairs.

And yes, echoing Paddy, there's no need to start a new scene on each page - if there were two or three scenes in each act then maybe, but in a play with over 100 scenes I wouldn't even change the heading, I'd just use a line of stage direction to indicate a new scene - that should be enough for any director worth their salt to take the hint and keep the changes as fast and minimal as possible.

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