NYWIFT Blog

Notes from a Screenreader: Meaningful Images

image

Photo via Go Into the Story.

A script is a story that will be told with images. It feels like that goes without saying, but spec scripts are so often crushed under the weight of their own dialogue that it bears repeating.

Meaningful images are revealing, memorable, interesting to read, and space saving. To rewrite for visuals, consider:

  • Location. If it isn’t already, make the landscape integral to the story. Good settings provide natural obstacles, conflicts, and subtext. A textureless or interchangeable backdrop is usually a missed opportunity.
  • The Mute Button. Static talking scenes have their place, but most of them are completely unnecessary. Hit the mute button on your talking scenes and design a visual expression of the same idea for amazing results. Show actions rather than conversations about actions.
  • A Bowl of Green Apples. Still-life descriptions bog down the read. The difference between a trivial image and a meaningful one comes down to story. Does that bowl of green apples on the counter ever amount to anything? Description is best used for revealing details, preferably active ones. If your character arranges those green apples five times in that bowl while the baby cries upstairs, that is a revealing, meaningful bowl of green apples.

— ANNIE LABARBA (@annelabarba)

Annie is a screenwriter, story consultant, and reader for major screenplay competitions.

PUBLISHED BY

nywift

nywift New York Women in Film & Television supports women calling the shots in film, television and digital media.

View all posts by nywift

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

*

*

*

Related Posts

WIFT Around the World: Postcard from Cannes 2022

NYWIFT Member Panayiota Pagoulatos shares memories from her trip to Cannes 2022 - her first time back on a plane since 2019! She met with WIFTI leaders from all over the world and shared this sage advice: "If you find yourself at an international market or film festival—whether it’s the first or the fiftieth time—look for your people. Whether a business partnership comes out of it or not, staying connected, sharing your experiences, and hopefully learning a thing or two, that’s the pulse that will help keep you going in this tough-as-nails industry."

READ MORE

NYWIFT @ Tribeca: In Conversation with Producer Steffie van Rhee

Cynthia Lowen’s latest documentary "Battleground" offers an eye-opening window into the anti-choice movement, featuring three women from varying walks of life who have dedicated themselves to rendering abortion illegal. Per the Tribeca website: “Told with restraint and balance, director Cynthia Lowen seeks to clarify rather than condemn, and presents a new point of entry for this challenging topic.” While the film itself clearly aligns with progressive pro-choice advocates (who also appear throughout) it offers a fascinating perspective on the sheer systemic power of the anti-abortion movement and the perilous future, felt painfully today, of Roe v. Wade. "Battleground" was Executive Produced by NYWIFT member Ruth Ann Harnisch and co-produced by member Steffie van Rhee, who sat down with us to discuss the premiere and how this film – from this particular perspective – came to fruition.

READ MORE

NYWIFT @ Tribeca: In Conversation with Filmmaker Violet Du Feng

Violet Du Feng’s "Hidden Letters" tells the story of Chinese women trying to balance their lives as independent women in modern China while confronting the traditional identity that defines but also oppresses them. Connected through their love for Nushu—a centuries-old secret text shared amongst women—each of them transforms through a pivotal period of their lives and takes a step closer to becoming the individuals they know they can be. Hot off her 2022 Tribeca Festival premiere, Director Violet Du Feng, an Emmy-award winning documentarian, spoke to us about Nushu, modern-day China, women’s equality, and her filmmaking process.

READ MORE

NYWIFT @ Tribeca: In Conversation with Filmmaker Signe Baumane

Signe Baumane’s "My Love Affair With Marriage" is a brilliant animated film for a decidedly adult audience. It’s a semi-autobiographical musical exploration of love, sex, romance, and gender as viewed through the lens of neurochemistry – not your average animated love story! New York Women in Film & Television was proud to present Baumane with a NYWIFT Ravenal Foundation Feature Film Grant for the film, and even prouder to then see it premiere at the 2022 Tribeca Festival! We sat down with Signe to discuss her wildly inventive, intelligent, and very fun film.

READ MORE
JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER
css.php