If you have a new account but are having problems posting or verifying your account, please email us on for help. Thanks :)
Hello all! Please ensure that you are posting a new thread or question in the appropriate forum. The Feedback forum is overwhelmed with questions that are having to be moved elsewhere. If you need help to verify your account contact

Writing for Theatre/Film? Any different to writing in other mediums?

  • 15-01-2013 2:55pm
    Registered Users Posts: 17


    Ive been writing Comics for about 2-3 Years now, Ive had a recent interest in writing for something like Theater or Film. Ive been researching the different writing styles, but does anyone have any experience in writing in these mediums?


    (PS, I wasn't sure if I should've posted this here, or in the Film or Theater threads)


  • Registered Users Posts: 849 ✭✭✭nervous_twitch

    I've written for both. Film and theatre, depending perhaps on your chosen genre, are dialogue dependent - unlike prose, your story is relayed through the interactions of your characters. This, in my opinion, is the most important aspect of these mediums. You're nowhere without good dialogue and, by extension, thoroughly developed characters.

    Something that you should also be conscious of is the collaborative element of a screen/stage project. You might have a nice script, but if you don't have a decent director/sound/staging/cast/make-up/lights it's not worth much. Inversely, if you have all of the above and a poor script you're equally stunted. Some people find it difficult to relinquish most of the creative control (which is why I've started work on a book ;)).

    For the moment, I'd choose one or the other.. and from experience, theatre is infinitely more accessible than film in Ireland. Decide what story you want to tell. How many people you need to tell it. Like a book or any other medium, planning is key. Then get to work. It might be worth your while to begin with a short project. Festivals like Fringe etc always welcome new voices and it's easier to accommodate a play that isn't too grand in scale. It's a lot easier to structure a smaller narrative too. If you're writing full-length, you have to take heed of different Acts, pacing etc (although like most creative mediums, rules are there to be broken).

    I'm not too sure what you mean by style in this context. Your style should be cultivated through how your characters talk and/or react to their environment. Is it the formatting/structure that you're worried about? Write the scenes first and you can come back to this. A tactic I use is to imagine exactly how every scene plays out on stage. For example, in theatre you've got a limited set (you'd be surprised the things that can be achieved though), so most of your action should unfold in one or two settings. Nothing overly elaborate. In this way, there's a lot more freedom in film.

    I'm not too sure what else to say, if you've got any questions feel free. Comic work should stand to you (especially if you get into film), because it too relies on a visual/dialogue narrative.

  • Registered Users Posts: 17 TheNorthridge

    Thanks for the Suggestions, very helpful.

    Though I'm still new at this, how do you actually get into writing for theatre? Is it through some kind of representation by an Agent, or is it by self means? Usually when I'm doing a new comic, or I need a new project to work on, ill advertise though certain forum boards, but Im pretty sure this wouldn't apply to here.

    As for film, I would like to break into Film, but I heard that can be a stressful endeavor(well any endeavor can be a stressful endeavor :P). Ive a few ideas for movies or theatre, my only problem really would be to write in a smaller scale then Im normally used too, so that will take some adjusting.

    do you have any books to recommend for either medium?

  • Registered Users Posts: 849 ✭✭✭nervous_twitch

    There are many different ways to get into theatre; in fact, of all the creative arts, it's probably one of the more accessible avenues for those starting out. No agents required. Just a brief overview of the approaches you can take when you have a completed script.

    1) Submission. Many (even most) theatre companies in Ireland accept unsolicited manuscripts. This includes the bigger players, like the Abbey or Fishamble, but you might have better luck with smaller, independent production companies. If they like your work as much as you do, they'll be happy to get behind it.

    2) Festivals. Fringe is always seeking submissions for its programme, which generally starts around September. There are other localised festivals and those of specific interest (LGBT Theatre Festival for example) which also actively look for new voices. This is a great way to get your foot in the door. Don't forget that you need not restrict yourself to Ireland - Edinburgh Fringe is a great platform for new shows.

    3) Competitions. Fishamble held a competition last year which called on the public to submit small plays for production/staging. Competitions like this come up quite a bit, and can be a great introduction to theatre, so keep your eyes on local Arts/Newspaper publications for opportunities. A good response to your writing can be the beginnings of a career.

    4) DIY. Obviously, the most stressful, and most costly, route, but with a host of its own benefits. If you have the financing, it can be relatively easy to get your hands on theatre space in Dublin (there are lots of smaller venues all over the city). Find a few like-minded individuals - actors directors etc who are also in it for the experience - and it becomes a viable option. However, I wouldnt advise going down this path solely because your script was rejected elsewhere; quality of writing always takes precedence. You could join a few of the online theatre forums to get some dialogue going with others who want to tackle a similar project.

    I can't recommend any books, and that's because I'd almost recommend you don't read any. Trying to adhere to rules or certain parameters in creative writing can just be jarring and counter-productive. What I would advise, though, is to read plays. Well-written plays in your genre that have been well-received - this is the best instruction you will ever get on how to write for theatre.

    Just a quick note on film; the Academy (yes the Oscar people) have an international competition every year where they invite people to submit screenplays. Called the Nicholls Fellowship, it awards five prizes of $35,000 per annum. It goes without saying that the standard is beyond high and there is a huge volume of entries every year, but with the right story I think it's worth a shot. There are free online programs such as Celtx, which can help structure and format your writing for the screen. Hope some of this helps :)

  • Registered Users Posts: 17 TheNorthridge

    Thanks, that's some great info. Now I wonder just, if they'll only take serious Drama scripts, or will they take something like a comedy? I usually write comedy's lol

    Thanks again!