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The Director’s Chair Issue #126 – Jan. 15, 2012 (What Directors Look for in the First Script Read-Through)

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January 16, 2012                Scene 13 – Take 1

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1. Introduction
2. Bonuses for Subscribing to The Director’s Chair
3. Live Online Filmmaking Chats
4. Social Media Contact Information
5. FEATURE ARTICLE: The First Script Read-Through
6. Write an Article for The Director’s Chair
7. The Modern Moviemaking Movement
8. Subscriber Shameless Self-Promotion
9. Filmmaking Links of Interest
10. Blog – Film Directing Tips
11. Filmmaking Workshops
12. Product Promotion and Film Workshops
13. Suggestions and Comments
14. Copyright Information

1. Introduction

Welcome to Issue #126 of The Director’s Chair Jan. 16, 2012

1. Feature Article – The feature article this month is called:
What a Director Looks for in the First Script Read-Through: “A
director needs to understand every detail about the story you
are telling. And in order to understand the script, a director
needs to be able to operate in the sub-world of the
characters.” (Read full article below.)

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Peter D. Marshall

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5. FEATURE ARTICLE: The Director’s First Script Read-Through

What a Director Looks for in the First Script Read-Through

A director needs to understand every detail about the story
you are telling. And in order to understand the script, a
director needs to be able to operate in the sub-world of the

Therefore, one of the main purposes of script analysis is to
find out who the characters are and what happens to them.

(1). First Impressions

1. When you first get a script, the first thing you should do
is just read the script through once – without making any
notes. This is important because it lets you get to know what
the story is about and what happens to the characters.

2. Read the script over several more times

a. This begins the process of understanding the characters and
the events of the script

b. You start to feel things and see things about the

c. This process gives you ideas for backstory and subtext

d. Anytime you find a line of dialogue or an action that is
confusing or doesn’t make sense, make a note of it.

3. Find the facts behind the words

a. Always look for the fact or the reality behind a line (what
does it REALLY mean)

(2) Script Facts

1. Script facts are situations, actions or events that happen
in a story before a scene starts

2. They are not subject to interpretation because they have
already happened (they are in fact, FACT!)

(3) Questions

Your questions are one of the most important parts of your
script analysis. Why? Because they lead to research.

1. Why IS the most important question a director can ask!

“WHY?” Because when you ask someone WHY, you begin to get a
deeper understanding of a situation, problem or challenge and
your approach to solving this question will become
progressively clearer as you go through the script

“WHAT?” To help find out about situations and character,
always ask, “what is the character NOT saying in this scene”
and “what is HAPPENING in this scene for the FIRST time”

(4) Script Stage Directions

Stage directions are the writer’s ideas, suggestions or
concepts for the director, the actors and the production
designer that show or describe various things such as:

1. Certain backstory facts pertaining to a scene or a

2. The behavior, or inner life, of a character

3. The staging or blocking the writer would like to see (actor

(5) The Spine of the Script

1. To answer the question, “what is the SPINE of a script,”
just think of the spine in the body and what its purpose is.
Simply, the spine LINKS the story together. And what happens
when one of the links are out of place – you get a disjointed
story (and a pain the back!)

2. The spine is basically the reason for the character’s
journey – it is what the character WANTS and the spine of your
main character will usually run parallel to the central theme
of the script

3. In any film, a character should have only one spine for the
whole story

4. To find a specific character’s spine, look for the
character’s transforming event and its end result

(6) Script Beats and Events

1. Events are things (action or dialogue) that happen in the
scene and once they take place they become facts

2. Every scene should have something happen between the
characters (this is called a central emotional event)

3. It is the director’s responsibility to make sure an
emotional event occurs between characters and that all of
these events are put together in a cohesive manner to make a

4. The best way to find the event of a scene is to break the
scene down into a series of beats (or units)

5. The best way to identify a scene beat is find out where the
subject changes – then that is a new beat

6. You should identify, at the very least, three major beats
in any scene (beginning, middle, end)

(7) Back Story (What happened just before the scene)

1. This is the moment in a character’s life just before the
scene starts. It is usually an off-camera beat and it gives us
a sense that the scene is in the middle of something.

2. In other words, an actor does not just “walk in the door.”
They need to know what they were doing just before they open
the door. It can be a fact in the script or something they
make up. But they HAVE to know where they were and what they
were doing before that door opens.

6. Do You Want To Write An Article For The Director’s Chair?

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7. Give This to a Filmmaker – The Modern Moviemaking Movement

If you have been following filmmaking trends you know the
world of indie filmmaking is changing fast.

Inexpensive production technology coupled with the decline of
traditional movie distribution has forever transformed the
ways in which movies are marketed, seen and sold.

These days, filmmakers must not only make great movies, but in
order to prosper, modern moviemakers must now master
crowdfunding, internet marketing and social media.

To help you succeed as an independent filmmaker, I
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It’s called “The Modern Moviemaking Movement” and it will
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copy now of “The Modern MovieMaking Movement:”

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AWAY to your closest filmmaking friends. 🙂

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YOU CAN REACH ME ON 2348033742167, OR

(2) I am submitting my film “Quarter Life Crisis,” for
shameless self promotion.

My film played in the Toronto Italian Film Festival and it’s
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9. Filmmaking Links of Interest

1. Making your own movie? Indie pros offer their advice

2. Shrewd handling of indie films yields real profits

3. Films need substance before flash

4. A peek into the celluloid past

5. Hollywood says goodbye to celluloid

6. Hollywood remake mania

7. Filmmaking should be a collective effort

8. Script continues to be king.

9. 10 Ways Roger Corman Changed Filmmaking

10. Director taps online fans to get film going

10. Blog – Film Directing Tips

Please take a look at the many articles on my blog,
http://FilmDirectingTips.com and make some comments on the
posts. Your feedback is important to me because they will help
me decide on the content of this blog.

11. Filmmaking Workshops – Peter D. Marshall

I have worked in the Film and Television Industry for over 38
years – as a Film Director, Television Producer, First
Assistant Director and Series Creative Consultant. I’ve been
asked many times to share my Film and TV production knowledge
with others. As a result, I developed several workshops that I
have successfully presented over the past 18 years.

To find out more about these workshops, just click on the link
below. If you are interested in any of these four workshops
for yourself or your organization, please contact me to
discuss how we can bring these workshops to you.

12. Product Promotion And Film Workshops

From time to time, I will contact you to inform you of film
workshops, filmmaking products or Online courses that I feel
are beneficial to filmmakers like yourself. Of course, you are
under no obligation to purchase anything – I only offer this
information as a service to subscribers of this free ezine.

13. Suggestions And Comments

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14. Copyright Information

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Peter D. Marshall
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