Re: Text to Script

Subject: Re: Text to Script
From: Averil Strauss <averil -at- LEGENDCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 30 May 1996 18:20:32 -0400

>-- [ From: Tina McBrearty * EMC.Ver #2.3 ] --

>Hi,
> I have two questions to pose to the list. Please excuse me if my first
>question sounds very basic, but I am new at this.
> I just started working within the last six months at a video production
>company. We do industrial videos for high tech companies, so the tech
>writing I do, is taking technical information that already exists and turn
>it into video script format. My question is this: companies we work for
>generally ask me to take their existing material (such as brochures,
>product descriptions, other videos, ect...) and compose the script from it.

> In many cases I lift copy word for word from their material, and there is
>never any author to whom this work is attributed.

My questions are
1. How can you write a script like that?
2. What do you do for a story line?
3. How do you give the characters personality?

Am I infringing on
>anyone's copyright by doing this? The assumption seems to be that the
>companies "own" this work and they can reuse it as they see fit, but I was
>wondering if this is the case.

They may own the copyright, but you should probably protect yourself. The
easiest way is to rephrase the text idiosyncratically, introducing slang and
humour. That way you don't even have to bother your employer with your
concerns. Also you can probably remove awkward phrasing and explain any jargon.

> Next question, because I write scripts I would be interested in finding
>out if there were any lists that pertain to scriptwriting that anyone on
>here knows about.

Try playwriting or movie scripts (best) or even straight short story and
narrative poetry writing. Scriptwriting is almost like playwriting. The
major difference in content that exists consists of indicating camera
angles, closeups and other detailed visual aspects that also apply to
movies. The second difference is that scenes can be much shorter because
there is no need to shut the curtains for scene changes.

Yes, I have worked in the movie industry and directed plays, as well as
writing about computer hardware, software and telephones.

The main thing to remember is that any script worth reading or acting has a
beginning, middle and end. There must also be a plot, interesting
characters, and a climax. If the script must be very short, try to end with
some sort of memorable gag that emphasizes your point. The gag can be visual
and may simply consist of a close-up of the "expert"'s dumbfounded expression.

FYI, a recent study concluded that most current movies were biased toward a
female audience. Apparently "female" films are cheaper to film because they
are based on changing person-to-person relationships and can take place in
one small set. "Male" films are more expensive because they emphasize
action, high-speed chases, explosions and lots of scene changes. What is
your audience??
Averil
Legend Communications, Inc.
Makers of PostScript Software
http://www.legendcomm.com

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