By Kathy Reid
A new Drama Writing Group was set up in the summer to develop our writing and to serve as a safe space to give and receive feedback on our work. We also aim to cover the many different aspects of creating a script such as character voice, plot development, foreshadowing and technical aspects.
Perhaps the most important technical aspect of putting together a script is how to set it out on the page which surprisingly is not as straightforward as you may think. You don’t need to be eagle eyed to have spotted how different scripts vary greatly in their layout and so you may assume there was no general standard and you’d be right!
However, this lack of a standard does not mean that organisations requesting scripts such as the BBC don’t have strict requirements on how they want those scripts to be set out which can even mean designated measurements for text indentations. Here on the BBC Website you can see the wide range of script formats that they require depending on whether the play is for radio, film, TV or stage and whether it is for UK or the US. Looking at these different formats you will see Dialogue in the middle of the page, action written to the right or action underlined and even action to the right and underlined. All very confusing and you might agree with me that the BBC’s UK stage play script format is not the most readable!
Our Writing Group is working around this confusion by taking what seems to be the most common format and what works best and also not worrying about the measurements of indentations! The style closest to the way we will set our plays out is the format of the comedy plays website which has the character names to the left, dialogue to the right and action on a new line in italics and thankfully no underlining.
The Drama Writing Group only meet once a month and so as yet there are no finished scripts to share with you but we are working towards creating new and original short scripts. With any luck we will be able to present these scripts to the group next year which will not only give us the opportunity to see our work on stage but also provide more acting opportunities.
Interested in joining our writing group? Get in touch with Kathy or, if you if you're not a member of the group yet, fill in the form on our Get Involved page and mention you're interested in the writing group.