• Red Dragon Creative Awards

Are You the Writer and Director?

I find it interesting that in this industry many want the writer to also be the director when they read a script. To my surprise, when I showed a highly experienced actor and writer my script, the first thing he pointed out was that there weren’t enough scene descriptions, parentheticals. He was saying I needed more direction for the actors and crew. I was told that my script was very heavy on dialogue and written more like a play without the directions or parentheticals.


My response: I won more than one award with this script as it is. I intentionally did not put detailed scene descriptions or directions for crew or actors. I believe they are artists and will bring the characters to life with a good director in place.



I am a writer, not a director. Yes, I am also an actor and appreciate good direction, but I prefer that direction to happen on set rather than on paper. And I prefer it to come from the director who can see the big picture. An experienced director will know what will work on film. The writer may not know the best opening shot, camera angles, which way an actor should face or to walk across the room, where to place the actors in the scene, or what movement will work best in the environment. But an experienced director will have a vision as soon as they see the set and actors. Together, the actors who have studied this script, along with good direction on set, will know how this should be presented.


After I was told I needed more direction in my script, I researched on whether a write should pretend to be the director and include countless scene descriptions and parentheticals. I discovered that it is actually a controversial topic for scriptwriting in this industry. Therefore, I do not have a definite answer or specific advice on this. I can tell you that after reading many articles on this topic I came to the conclusion that if you are a well-known director who is writing a script, you are more likely, or even expected, to include the directions, many parentheticals. Most directors would have a clear vision and plan before arriving on set.

If you are a well-known director who is writing a script, you are more likely, or even expected, to include the directions,

But, if you have never directed, you may leave the directions out. It is a good idea to allow an experienced director and crew to do their jobs when they arrive. I learned that a few weeks ago with one of my short films. I had a vision of what I wanted, but no idea on opening shots, camera angles, and how it would look on film until I saw the monitor while filming. The director and actors were able to bring my story to life extremely well without directions in the script. That came from the director. They brought man brilliant ideas into the project that I did not expect. I trusted the director and he did a fabulous job with the actors.


Remember, if you are not a director and you want people to read your script, go easy on the parentheticals. They are not only overused but also misused by inexperienced writers. Allow the director to do their job, the actors will shine, and your story will be told.


I wish you the best of luck with your project. I hope this was an enjoyable and worthwhile read. Let me know how I can help. Reach out to me via LinkedIn, email, or phone.


 

Authors Bio: Karen Goeller was born in Montreal, Canada in 1966 and was raised in Brooklyn, NY. She is the daughter of two hard-working parents and she has one sister. Karen Goeller is a member of NY Women in Film & TV. She has had a variety of scripted and improv roles on film, TV, commercials, and industrial films. Karen is most often cast as a wife, lawyer, detective, FBI Agent, teacher, doctor, or reporter. Since 2018, Karen has been working on the crew side of the camera as a Script Supervisor, She said her "work as a script supervisor has helped her become a better actor." Most recently, Karen completed two short film scripts and one feature-length script. Her feature-length script Missy's Voice, has won awards in film festivals including Best Drama Script in Gothamite and Best Debut Script Writer in Red Dragon as well as a logline contest award. Besides working in the film industry, Karen is the author of 20 books, a CSCS, and a long-time gymnastics coach. She has given presentations to professional groups including the NSCA, USA Gymnastics, and the Chamber of Commerce. Karen also enjoys being cast according to any of her special abilities which include Precision Driving, Ballroom Dance, Swimming, Strength Coach (CSCS), Gymnastics Coach, and Fitness Trainer. According to Karen, "It's always fun to bring your real-life experience to the screen." Karen is very well-spoken and college-educated. In the late 1980's, Karen spent a long time reducing her Brooklyn accent during her time with the NYPD. Karen has studied physical therapy, health sciences, business, and law in college. She has a BA Degree and a year of law school. Karen Goeller has been interviewed on TV and radio countless times and has many short podcasts on the internet. Karen welcomes new ideas for roles and collaboration on projects.

Read Karen's bio and film credits on IMDB at www.imdb.me/karengoeller


Reach out to me via LinkedIn, email, or phone.

Karen Goeller

Member NYWIFT

Writer, Actor, Script Supervisor

908-278-3756

karen@karengoeller.com

www.LinkedIn.com/in/karengoeller

www.IMDb.me/KarenGoeller

www.MissysVoice.com

www.KarenGoeller.com


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