Module 3. Preparation of audiovisual scripts.



Evaluation criteria:

Elaborate audiovisual scripts applying a narrative structure coherent with the expressive possibilities of the image, sound and music.

Evaluative learning standards:

1.1. It values the importance of the expressive function of the image, sound and music in the process of creating audiovisual scripts. 1.2. It characterizes the narrative structure and the thematic idea of a fictional audiovisual script, based on the analysis of a contributed project. 1.3. It constructs the literary script of a certain sequence following the standardized phases in the audiovisual productions: determination of the idea, documentation, story line, argument and treatment. 1.4. Make the transformation of a dramatic sequence to the structure of a technical script and a storyboard. 1.5. It relates the processes and phases of a multimedia audiovisual production with the functions of the technical and artistic personnel that intervenes in it. 1.6. Identify the differences and similarities in the construction of audiovisual scripts and audio description scripts.


The thematic idea and the dramatic idea.

We have a story to tell. But that story will not work if it is not part of a simple idea, something that anyone who see our film will get clearly. It does not need to be something special, just interesting. And interesting enough for us to start moving an audiovisual project. If we add creativity and originality to this idea, much better.

Once we have that idea, we must think if it is possible to make an audiovisual project with it. That is to say; if it is feasible to make a cinematographic script or if it is something almost impossible (for budget reasons or simply because it does not adjust to the limits of the cinematographic language).

The idea can start from your own experiences, from anecdotes that we know from others, from press news, something that we have read in a novel or seen in a film and that inspires us (without plagiarism) or, more commonly, something that a customer proposes us to film.

From this initial idea, we have to think if we can turn it into scenes and take into account two things; history is not the same (the drama) that we do not tell (the theme). Hence the title of the epigraph.

For the dramatic idea we must have our dramaturgy skills. How we move the characters, we put dialogues and we make them move around the scene, while with the thematic idea we must have more with that proposal that we want to make to the public, with what we are going to transmit to their emotions and feelings. For example, in a Romantic Comedy, the dramatic idea will make the actors find themselves in the various fun situations that will lead them to succeed in their attempt to achieve love, while the thematic idea will be something like "the force of love" " In the thematic idea will be the strength of the message of the film, since it refers to universally shared feelings and that will allow it to be seen in many other countries with the necessary understanding on the part of those audiences.

Approach, development and outcome.

Let's go back to the idea of ​​a three-part story and delve into the idea. We have a plot structure in the form of a triptych with a first part in which we know the characters, mainly the protagonist and, if possible, the antagonist. We situate the events (space-time or location-historical period) and let the spectator know what the coordinates of the story are going to be. For example, in science fiction, we must tell what is "normal" in that world so that it does not generate unnecessary strangeness.

At this point we can play with the spectator and take him to the limits that we want, because it is that "normality" that he will accept to a greater extent if it happens at this point in history. Therefore, what is disparate, abnormal or inconceivable, must be presented soon so we can play with it. If we delay in presenting it (either in the development or the outcome) our history will lose credibility, causing the public to distance themselves and not enter into our history.

The development will break the tranquility of that "normality". At some point, the character will have to face a fact that will take him out of his routine and will have to make some interesting decision.

The outcome will occur when the event that broke the "normal" world of fiction has been overcome, resolved as if it were a problem, usually by the action of the characters. Things may improve (happy ending), get worse (usually in a horror movie) or return to a similar situation to the initial one (it is not common and it is usually dramatic or melancholic). But we may also come to a world very different from the one presented at the beginning, which if it has a happy or satisfactory ending, will give the viewer a certain sense of euphoria.

In any case, all this we can try to change it for the benefit of a new narrative, but in any case, our history will have parts and a plot that will articulate the story.

Plot and subplot.

As you see from what I say in the previous section, plot is not the same as history. Imagine you know the story of a classic story like Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf. The story is that presentation with a development in the forest and an outcome in the house of the Grandmother. Well, the plot will be composed of the various scenes (events) that make up the story, regardless of its chronological order, since it focuses on the connection of these scenes, how they are interrelated.

As you can see, the plot focuses on the relationship of elements within the tension-relaxation of the different elements. Without the Wolf cheating Little Red Riding Hood to get his plan to eat both the granddaughter and the grandmother, there would be no plot in the story. Is the problem or the discrepancy that needs to be resolved reaches its climax (maximum point of tension) at the end with a series of actions by the protagonists who change the course of the story. The Wolf loses most of the time.

In some cases, the ending is a revelation, a discovery that surprises us, as for example in the stories of Agatha Christie or Arthur Conan Doyle. Knowing who the murderer is, even if he does not repair the tragedy of having a victim, entails his detention and the exercise of justice that in some way, produces relief in the spectator.

The case of subframes occurs in almost all long stories. Think of something as simple as an adventure movie. An archaeologist discovers a map that leads to an impressive treasure. In a moment a "boy meets girl" happens and we introduce the heroine that will lead to the subplot of love between the characters. The main plot will be the one that the characters develop in order to reach that treasure, while the subplot will take us to the final kiss.

Thanks to the subplots we can give more depth to the personality of the characters, but always subject to the main plot. In addition, it helps to create more problems for the characters that make their achievements even more satisfying in the end. A movie usually has three secondary subplots, at the beginning of the development and that must be resolved in a synchronized manner, especially in the climax, leaving only one to close in the end of the outcome (for example the final kiss).

To finish this section, we must remember the parallel plots, which are not subplots and are used in television series to have several centers of attention, but in the cinema can be good ideas to present a part of the character's past that helps us to understand him without needing to be linked to the plot.

Character characteristics and typologies.

The stories are told with characters unless the situations, the location or the time are the ones that do it. But this is practically anecdotal with respect to the work of the actors in audiovisual productions.

If we look at the prizes that are awarded to the actors, we can start to classify the characters that make up the story. According to its protagonism, we have the main character and then the secondary ones, including the antagonist. We can create a third category with the narrator, which can be present as secondary or be a voiceover.

Then we can classify the characters in terms of their function when transmitting information or history. We have the archetypes, which, as the name suggests, are concretions of a moral element. It can be the great good or the bad bad; the embodiment of modesty, of sacrifice for others, of greed and ambition. This was very much in Greek mythology. In the current film mythology, these characters can be more flat, so we find stereotypes or topical characters. The typical secondary cop in an action movie, the typical nosy neighbor in comedies. With this we can add another category, very used in film criticism, which is flat characters. These are contrasted with the characters evolved throughout the film and that are satisfactory in themselves (in some places I have seen that they are called round or dynamic, as opposed to planes or static).

Audio-visual dialogues.

It is common to use dialogue to incorporate information that the image lacks. In my opinion, this should not be the case, and dialogue should reinforce the image, not make up for its shortcomings. In any case, we must analyze the different uses of dialogue in audiovisual productions to know what is done with them in a standard way.

The types of audiovisual dialogues are:

Dialogue between actors

Monologue (can be out loud or voice-over)

Dialogues remembered (sounding off)

Narrator (voice over or with narrator present)

Invented dialogues (very rare and used to put in the mouths of some characters what a protagonist - main or secondary - want them to say)

The functionality that we give to the dialogs can be classified as:

Informative (the dialogue explains the situation to the viewer indirectly, either by reporting what is happening, where it happens, when it occurs, giving realism, etc.) Another version is the revelation that leaves the protagonist doubting his vision of the reality, in the style of Angel Heart (1987) when the protagonist discovers in the end that ... well, it would be better to see the movie.

Dialogue star (when the grace of what is said centers all the action)

And the worst, morality. If a moral value is found in the thematic idea, it would be better not to present it directly, since the manipulation of the viewer is much more noticeable.


Idea, documentation, story line, plot synopsis and treatment.

The epigraph seems to want to present the order in which we create the script. First we have the idea (that as you know are the dramatic and thematic ideas), so that later we document on the aspects that we need (historical period, geographical location, characteristics of the characters, culture and science, etc.), then we create a line temporary on which we will place the scenes of the plot, we create a summary of what is going to happen and then how we are going to carry it out.

We talked about the idea in the previous content, so I go directly to the documentation. A recommendation, do not write anything without first informing you. A good idea is distorted if it does not have a good support in reality. If you write about a person with a certain disability, read about it, talk to people who are like your character and practice empathy; What would your life be like?
Historical periods, the lives of the people of those periods and many other things should be something that you have to know in depth to write about it.

Even for the most crazy fiction. Is there anything to know about galaxies if I talk about intergalactic travel?

The plot synopsis is something that I see as the "literary script scenario". A synopsis could well be the summary that we would send to the producers if we were the
writers of said script. It is a summary of no more than two pages with all the important things that will happen in the film, focusing on the actions rather than on the characters (in case they have any idea of ​​who is going to be the actor or actress who interprets the vicissitudes) and with many "spoilers", including the end of the movie. As it is something that does not have to have anything of literary, the more direct the style, the better. Leave it chewed so that the one who reads it has it very easy.

The cinematographic treatment of a literary script supposes already to have a escaleta. With it, an idea is "fattened" for each scene, starting with a brief summary of what happens to a detailed exhibition of the same. This work ends in a small "novelette" of a maximum of fifty pages that will be prior to the development of a detailed script. It is written in the present and the dialogues are enunciated, both with what the actors do, with what they pretend and with what they feel.

Types and formats of audiovisual scripts.

We have seen how the creation of a script arises. Now we will see the main types (and formats) of a script for an audiovisual production.

We already talk about the escaleta (scaletta) and other previous versions (plot synopsis and the treatment of the script). Let's go into the creation of the script. Before the script itself, it is usually written the literary version of the script, two columns, with the column on the left presenting the actions and the narration of what happens and on the right we write what you want to appear on the screen (images and sounds), including the dialogues. This format is very laborious to make and is usually replaced by the version of a column that resembles the theatrical script.

We will use the typeface "courier" to size 12, which corresponds to approximately one minute of film per page of script.

The next step is the technical script, which we already saw in block 1, and which incorporates as a novelty, the indications for shots and camera work.

A more advanced modern element in the "storyboard" that we will see in a later epigraph, but that I already advance that is a Comic of the film. In a single image we see both what happens (script) and the idea of ​​how to take (technical script) and all kinds of technical issues to bring it to fruition (duration, framing, setting, audio and, most importantly) , a code to know where that fragment of the film fits.

Process of transforming the literary script into a technical script: planning.

Now we have a story, we know how to make it and it's time to leave space for the director and the filmmakers so they can tell the producer how they plan to make the film. It is very likely that the director and the scriptwriter work in the previous steps very closely, so the image of how it is going to be done is from the beginning in the script, so this task is something simpler, but also it may happen that the director has the script as commission or that the script has reached his hands and, as he liked it, he decides to take it to the screen.

To write this technical script it is necessary to plan all the aspects that we will have to work on the shooting. As I say, it is very arduous since we have to take into account the shot, the shot, the frame and its angle (including number of cameras, positions and heights), the movement of camera and actors, the decoration, the sound, the lighting, effects, etc. A lot of fabric to cut.

Storyboard construction techniques.

I have already introduced it in the section of the types of scripts and now we will treat it with the depth that we can in this brief review. Like I said, remember a comic from the movie. Instead of using many technical descriptions of the positions of the camera, we use a drawing in which we see what will be seen in the film.

It is a very laborious technique, but tremendously effective, since everyone involved in the recording knows what is expected of them. Even in a first attempt, if the storyboard is very elaborate and we have drawings of each scene, take (come on, very detailed), we can photograph it and see it as an animated film without animation. With this we will do to the idea of ​​if it is worth shooting that scene (even the movie) without having to put us on the job.

In films such as animation, in which the minute of the movie is very expensive, it is not possible to make "bloppers". You have to be perfect all the time with everything. In those cases, the visual script, the Storyboard is fundamental and does not start until the approval is given to everything that we have scripted - both in the literary and in the technical -, so it is a tremendous help this technique.

Adaptation of works to audiovisual scripts.

For the moment, we have treated the scripts as original scripts, but what about the adapted script?

Well, the truth is that a lot happens. To begin with, it is not the same to have a book or a play on the table as to write a literary script for a film. At first, it seems that we have a lot of work done and it is true, but everything in the paper of the book has to adapt to the new medium and that does not take away a bit of work.

I would say that it increases the task by having to be more or less faithful to the text at present. These adapted scripts are from novels, comics or literary works well known to fans who will see the film with critical eyes and who have usually read the original text before the film. They are going to see what scenes we have eliminated and what we have told in another way. In other decades, the adaptation of the book was not so exquisite, since it was used as the base script of the film, but now we are in a period in which adaptation is a genre in itself.

Another aspect is the legal issues. There is a previous author (with his rights) who has published his work in an editorial (with his rights) and must negotiate to be able to carry out the film. In addition, it is usually involved in the film because it is well known the case of authors dissatisfied with the adaptations of their works. That is something that gives very bad publicity to a movie. On the other hand, there are times when you buy rights for works that have not yet been published (even for writing) to heal in health when they are still "affordable" and there are no competitions between studies to be done with them.

Let us leave aside these important legal aspects and continue with the adaptation. With adaptation I refer to move from one medium to another. And we all know that a book can contain much more information than a movie. For this reason, we must know how to remove the superficial and condense what is important. Be clear about the topic (the thematic idea with which we started this block) and see how we can adapt it with the fidelity we want or that we are obliged to have. Once we arrive at a satisfactory literary script, the process is the same as with the original script, considering its "normality", the characters (hopefully archetypal and not stereotypical), the most significant dialogues and the scenes that we would like to see in the movie if we were fans of the novel or the comic to know when we can breathe and we are free and when we must be faithful to the spirit of the original work.