The London Screenwriter's Festival has only just finished. For me, one of the most important times is straight away afterwards. Now. What tips, techniques and lessons have you picked up that you can use immediately?
For me, it was an idea passed on by film historian Paul Cronin from his research into the work of Alexander MacKendrick, including The Ladykillers.
His advice was insanely simple. It was obvious. We all knew it. Yet we all forget it. Cinema is a visual way to tell stories. As such, a non-verbal shot should take precedence over dialogue.
In fact, he showed 3 minutes of the LadyKillers with the sound faded down to demonstrate that the dialogue isn't really needed in order to understand 80-90% of the story and characters. Now that is a great way to measure your script as you do a redraft.
With my own script (Friend Request) that I am currently redrafting I need to get the page count down from about 107 to more like 95. I'm partially funding this script myself so this isn't an empty exercise, cutting this time down will save money.
Already I have found places where whole portions of dialogue can be replaced by looks, by action and by the use of symbolic props. Fantastic. It's shorter and it's more cinematic.