Tearing up the script

The script is a controversial beast, which some people love and some people absolutely detest and the ritual ' tearing up of the script ' can be a very cathartic experience after a traumatic first night. Some people are planners, some are thinkers, some are doers who prefer to act on the spur of the moment and most of us are a mixture of all of these. Alfred Hitchcock, the celebrated British film director, was very much a script man and he loved to have every single last detail lovingly transcribed before he shot a single inch of film, and nothing but nothing occurred during that film which had not been painstakingly planned out beforehand. One of the first directors of the early days of film, D. W. Griffith, was exact opposite; he had a vague idea of what he wanted the film to portray but apart from that it just made it all up as he went along, working almost completely without a script. Max Sennett, who directed some of the most hilarious sequences that ever graced the silver screen, had a fairly detailed plan of just what the film was going to do what the slapstick comedy which made every film is so unique and special was completely impromptu.

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Many people feel that the weakness of the script is that it stifles spontaneity. It would take an absolutely immense imagination to plan one playwright the way through a full film or play and picture every conceivable situation that could occur and the result that are in the hands of a poor playwright the dialogue can become stilted and events predictable. On the other hand it is a fair comment to say that to attempt a production without a detailed script would be like trying to build a house without a set of plans; no one would know just how it would finish up. In the hands of an impromptu genius like Sennett the end result would probably be a quirky, individualistic masterpiece and the slapstick comedy that could well be the correct approach. For a dark and spine tingling chiller like Hitchcock used to write precision was absolutely essential and so it is very doubtful indeed that his films could have been written without first having a precise picture in mind of every single shot. Zany eccentrics for comedy; precise perfectionism for suspense.


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