At the end
of your excellent discussion on the usage of script versus screenplay, you
make a comparison between one page of a screenplay and one page from a TV drama.
Format-wise, they may be similar, but as the mediums are different (television
for all its visual acumen is very much a dialogue based medium compared to
film) would this not be apparent in the writing on these same pages under comparison?
In certain cases, yes. A script for "Law and Order" is almost entirely
dialogue in the second half, when the court case kicks in. "The West Wing" is
all talking, all the time. If you looked at any one page from these scripts,
you might be able to guess that it’s a TV show.
But a page from "Alias" or "Angel" or "Smallville" looks
and feels exactly like a feature. With the exception of act
breaks, the flow
of words on the page is no different than a 120 page screenplay.
That’s one reason why I would highly recommend any budding screenwriter try writing an episode of their favorite one-hour drama. It’s a great exercise in getting comfortable with the challenges of the format. In fact, the very first script I ever "wrote" was an episode of "Star Trek: The Next Generation," which I literally transcribed from tape. (I was 19 at the time. The episode was "Galaxy’s Child," teleplay by Marice Hurley, story by Thomas Kortozian.) For the cost of a few hours, I learned a lot about scene length and story pacing, and it got me over my fear of screenplays.