Posts tagged ‘audience’

March 15, 2013

Quote of the Day: Steven Spielberg

The older I get, the more I look at movies as a moving miracle. Audiences are harder to please if you’re just giving them special effects, but they’re easy to please if it’s a good story.

August 21, 2012

Quote of the Day: James Thurber

The appreciative smile, the chuckle, the soundless mirth, so important to the success of comedy, cannot be understood unless one sits among the audience and feels the warmth created by the quality of laughter that the audience takes home with it. 

April 6, 2011

What Audiences Need to Know When

This article from johnaugust.com discusses the oh-so-tricky art of revealing just as much information as you need to and finding the perfect time in your script to reveal it:

Figuring out what the audience needs to know — and when they need to know it — is one of the trickiest aspects of screenwriting. The novelist can suspend the action for paragraphs or pages to establish background information. Screenwriters can’t. We don’t have an authorial voice to fill in the missing details. Everything we want the audience to know has to be spoken by a character, or better yet visualized in a way that suits the big screen.

So we have to be clever. Sometimes, we use the form to our advantage: A lengthy sequence explaining dinosaur cloning techniques in Michael Crichton’s novel Jurassic Park becomes an animated film strip in David Koepp’s movie adaptation. In most cases, we do more with less, distilling the information down to a minimum effective dose to get the audience through the scene, sequence and story.

The frustration for screenwriters is that many of the decision-makers — directors, producers, studio executives — will have different opinions about that minimum effective dose. Directors will try to cut all the dialogue. Producers will focus on strange details, having read the script so many times that they’ve lost fresh eyes. And studio executives, having faced confused audiences at low-scoring test screenings, will want things over-explained to painful degrees.