For a few days, this is what almost all of my scripts look like. The most daunting thing for me to see is a blank page, so I always make sure there’s SOMETHING on there as soon as possible, even if it’s as simple as “CHARACTER: [First line]. ADDITIONAL CHARACTER: [Second line].“ This chunk has a clear little skeleton to it, but some scripts are even more bare bones (MICHAEL: [Banter]; KATIE: [Aggravated Response]; SOREN: [Distracted non sequitur] DANIEL: [Sweats, Farts]. KATIE: But you know, that reminds me…[Thesis of the After Hours episode].)
I don’t know if this is a useful practice for anyone and I’ve never known a writing teacher who suggested doing it (most in fact suggest the opposite and there are probably a bunch of real writers reading this shrieking Nooooooo never do that), but it’s just something I’ve been doing for years and it helps me. It ensures that I never have to look at a blank page and even if I end up changing it, it’s still helpful to have a starting place. And this way I don’t waste an hour trying to pick the specific words that Josie has to say, I can just leave her name there as a reminder knowing that I can come back to it later.
It’s a weird method and I’ve never done an ENTIRE script that is just placeholders, but it usually works. Right where the above picture cuts off is where dialogue actually starts happening. There’s three more pages of actual dialogue after this that wouldn’t have happened without these dumb placeholders serving as a jogged, warm-up lap before the actual run starts. Eventually I’ll get to the end of the episode and then address everything with brackets, including this opening scene and every time I write a line like “Josie, Bub, you know you’ve always got my support, but lately you’ve been acting like [FUNNY JOKE]” which happens VERY often.
Rom.Com will be back every Wednesday for the entire month of February and then again a few months later, and I promise there will be words in it.