An Evening of Script Reading in Ealing Studios

In the stunning setting of Regent’s college, surrounded by beautiful parkland and magnificent buildings, up-and-coming screen writers are offered the opportunity to present their work to an audience of production industry professionals, including script-editors, producers and directors, and to receive critical and creative feedback.

Off The Page welcomes members of the public, writers trying to break in to the industry, and professionals searching for bright new talent. On the evening I attended, a group of actors staged four different scripts. This was followed by a question and answer session. Such opportunities are crucial if the industry is to discover and encourage creative and intelligent individuals.

Michael Clarkson, traversed the large auditorium in true Jeremy Kyle fashion, making the evening entertaining, insightful and interactive.

The Promised Land, by Paul Williams, is a particularly captivating script. It explores religion as a catalyst, which tears a family into pieces. Dark and serious as it is, it nonetheless includes an undercurrent of comedy and so does not alienate the audience. It opens with the father’s dramatic attempt at suicide, which sparked a number of contrasting opinions from the audience. Questions arose about the credibility of the character’s actions, and the short time-scale in which he and his son are strongly converted to Christianity. Contributors battled out their opinions of the script as the mediator and director, Michael Clarkson, traversed the large auditorium in true Jeremy Kyle fashion, making the evening entertaining, insightful and interactive.

Elinor Perry-Smith’s script, Penny Dreadful, a vibrant and colourful story about prostitution and theft amongst the lower classes in mid-Victorian London, drew attention from the text to the performance. The playwright praised the actors’ achievement in bringing the script to life through their dynamic portrayal of the brazen and bold characters in this almost Dickensian style script.

The artistic storyboards help to create a visualisation of the writer’s universe and to enrich the story.

The visual aspect was further registered by Matthieu Gras, an artist who produced storyboards for each of the performances. He examined the importance of drawing in the development of a script, discussing its ability to create complex round characters by providing details of their clothing, make-up, height, posture and movement. The artistic storyboards help to create a visualisation of the writer’s universe and to enrich the story. Matthieu also encouraged scriptwriters to explore the world they’re creating, as the world you build is greater than the story itself.

Off the Page is an excellent platform from which writers and actors, artists and musicians can contribute in bringing a script to life and understanding its strengths and weaknesses. It continues to run on the first Monday of every month at Ealing Studios, directed by David Chamberlain.

You can find out about of Off the Page events at www.meetup.com/offthepage

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