Arts ResourcesTAM

22 Script Tips

The struggle is real. Searching for that perfect script for your corps drama team can seem like an endless task. So, you resort to writing your own. Good for you! We know script writing isn’t easy, so we thought we’d ask some professionals for their top script writing tips:
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1. Always, always partner with the Holy Spirit creatively. When you creatively partner with the Holy Spirit, writing becomes an act of worship, a true experience of what the Apostle Paul expressed in Acts 17:28 “In Him, we live, and move, and have our being.” – Becki Phillips, script writer

2. The Bible is your greatest asset! Use Scripture. Always. At the very least, you need a verse/passage to base your message upon. There are lots of great websites that help you search through multiple translations- www.biblegateway.com is a great place to start. – Bethany Farrell, USA South Territorial Creative Arts Director

3. Think small to start. Is this the first time you are writing for your corps? Then start with either a monologue or a duologue. The fewer characters to write for means the fewer complications to sort out. It also helps when casting and rehearsing. It’s easier to grab 2 people for a rehearsal than it is to organize 20. – Caitlin Allen, USA South Divisional Creative Arts Specialist 

4. Coordinate with the officer on themes/scripture references. When possible, write pieces that will contribute to the message of the service instead of standing alone as a “special.” – Bethany Farrell, USA South Territorial Creative Arts Director

5. Choose ONE message.  No sketch or script can fully or effectively capture our entire theology, address every injustice, speak on every topic, or take on every issue.  Pick one message for the audience and commit to it.  If the sketch is about honesty, don’t try to cram in everything, or anything else.  Let it be about honesty.  If it’s about prayer, don’t use every scripture in the Bible that talks about it.  Choose ONE and commit to depth. – Chris Stoker, sketch writer

6. Know your audience:  Make sure that the concept/content of your script is relevant to the group, and use vernacular language. – Jessica Fagerstrom, USA West Creative Arts Director

7. Listen to people speak at a party to get a sense of how real human beings communicate. Notice how they cut each other off, how rarely anyone gets to finish their story because other people finish it for them. – Kyle Higgins, CFOT Creative Arts Coordinator 

8. Write what you know.  You will feel comfortable writing something that you don’t have to do a bunch of research to make sure that what you’re writing is correct. If you have a personal experience with the story/characters/situation it makes it easier to convey that to a brand new audience. – Caitlin Allen, USA South Divisional Creative Arts Specialist 

9. Don’t be afraid to adjust as you go along. Scripts go through MASSIVE adjustments as they were worked out on their feet. – Amber Medin-Hood, writer/director

10. Try to keep the lines short for corps groups that are required to get sketches on their feet on short notice. – Kyle Higgins, CFOT Creative Arts Coordinator 

11. Tell a STORY.  Have a beginning, middle and end.  Use characters, lines, action and decisions based in real life instead of an amorphous, disconnected, ethereal approach. – Chris Stoker, sketch writer

12. Write in a way that allows your performers to shine. Set your team up for greatness. Do you have someone who doesn’t memorize well? Write a meaningful part with shorter lines. Is there someone who is very shy? Incorporate group lines that they can participate in freely. Help everyone to do their best and feel confident in their roles. – Bethany Farrell, USA South Territorial Creative Arts Director

13. Every character should always have a definable purpose. – Kyle Higgins, CFOT Creative Arts Coordinator 

14. Every character should have a distinct voice. Having your actors improvise their scenes and lines will bring it a depth that’s hard to achieve with one writer at a keyboard. —Rich Swingle, playwright/actor/director/teacher www.RichDrama.com

15. Dare yourself to be vulnerable – do not fear how others might perceive your words. Saying this, it is imperative, however, to write with authenticity – this insures that the words are understood, infused with depth and clarity. In the book of 1 Corinthians 14:9 , “And it’s the same for you. If you talk to people in a language they don’t understand, how will they know what you mean? You might as well be taking to an empty space.” – Becki Phillips, script writer

16. Limit the use of props. Props can be fun- but they also go missing, stop working, get broken, cost money, get eaten, forgotten, etc. Do yourself and your drama team a favor- don’t rely too heavily on these magical disappearing items. – Bethany Farrell, USA South Territorial Creative Arts Director

17. Include Production Details. Make the director’s job easier by providing stage directions, including notes on costumes, characters, and any other information that would make the production of a script easier for a director to stage. – Jessica Fagerstrom, USA West Creative Arts Director

18. Refine any superfluity. Keep only what is essential to tell the story. Every line needs to have a reason that it is written; if it doesn’t cut it. – Kyle Higgins, CFOT Creative Arts Coordinator 

19. Be open.  Read your work out loud with others and ask for their thoughts.  – Kathryn Higgins, TAM Bureau

20. Revisit scripts you’ve written in the past and tweak them to be used again. – Caitlin Allen, USA South Divisional Creative Arts Specialist 

21. “Eschew Obfuscation.” I heard this recently and it makes me laugh. Essentially- avoid using complicated language or unnecessary word choices that will leave your audience guessing.  – Bethany Farrell, USA South Territorial Creative Arts Director

22. Make ’em sweat! Well-crafted scripts ensure that some conflicts are left unresolved and questions are left unanswered at the end of each act so that audience members want to come back for more.  Be aware of the adrenaline levels of your audience, and institute an intermission right when the story gets exciting! – Jessica Fagerstrom, USA West Creative Arts Director

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