The Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting has only one requirement in your script layout. Anonymity is at the heart of the reading process, so to protect this we ask that your first page shows the TITLE only.
What comes next is up to you! However if you’d like a few suggestions please read on…..
A character list
- This doesn’t have to go into huge detail about the characters but anything you particularly think we need to know – name, age, gender, ethnicity, accent, any defining features (perhaps something that gives a sense of them as a character)
- Taken from “Port” by Simon Stephens –
Ronald Abbey. A man of indistinguishable weight. Fifty years old. Milk-bottle spectacles. Thinning hair. He speaks with a certain amount of saliva rattling around his teeth, smiles inappropriately nearly all the time and blinks a lot. He never, ever looks at the people he addresses. His evasion becoming more pronounced as the conversation becomes more personal. The children think he is, by turns, disgusting and hilarious. For a short time he hugs the side of the stage.
- Where is the play set
- When is the play set
- Is there anything that you feel the audience needs to know about the staging or see on stage?
- Taken from “Wish List” by Katherine Soper –
The staging of this play is open to interpretation – the stage directions are intended to evoke the literal world of the characters, but do not demand a literal staging.
A flat in Oldbrook, Milton Keynes. August. Dean is in the bathroom, applying gel to his hair. He does it very precisely and meticulously, applying far more than an average amount and twisting his hair into spikes. It should not be a hairstyle that seems familiar or attractive. Tamsin enters. Gets her passport, her phone – checking, making sure she’s not forgotten anything – looking at her watch, making sure she’s got enough time.
- Taken from “Yen” by Anna Jordan –
Present day. An estate in Feltham. 10pm. A living room which has been made into a bedroom. Hench (16) sits on the end of an open sofa bed in the middle of the room and Bobbie (13) lies face down on it. Next to the sofa bed an old armchair. Everything is tatty and worn, apart from a collection of shiny equipment: A flat screen TV, Playstation, laptop and some speakers. Both boys are bare-‐chested and barefoot. Bobbie wears some dirty tracksuit bottoms. He is a little pudgy, rosy cheeks, bright eyes, at the first flush of adolescence but quite physically strong and bullish. He has a rash at the top of his back. Hench is anything but hench; Painfully skinny, very pale, perhaps the suggestion of some acne. He wears scruffy jeans. They are watching hardcore pornography linked from the laptop to the TV by HDMI. The room is dull and dark, but the TV flickers and lights up their faces. We hear grunting, moaning, a few words, a couple of yelps; indecipherable between pleasure and pain. The boys’ faces are transfixed but blank. After some moments Bobbie leans down by the side of the bed, not taking his eyes off the screen, and comes back with a pint of milk in a glass bottle. He downs quite a lot of it and does a little burp after. He puts the milk down and runs over to a window. He looks out.
Notes to the reader
- Is there anything you want us to know about the layout or specific grammar or spelling or rhythm?
- Is there any way in which you have used parentheses to accentuate the rhythm of the piece?
- Taken from “Brilliant Adventures” by Alistair McDowall –
A question without a question mark denotes a flatness of tone.
– Indicates an interruption of speech or train of thought.
… Indicates either a trailing off, a breather, a shift, or a transition.
/ Indicates where the next line of dialogue interrupts or overlaps:
- Taken from “The Almighty Sometimes” by Kendall Feaver –
The action is set in various locations. These do not have to be more than suggested.
Each scene begins and ends abruptly as indicated by the horizontal lines.
FROM PAGE THREE ONWARDS
Start your play!
A suggestion of layout would be –
CHARACTER NAME – on left hand side of page in bold and capitals
Stage Directions – in italics – perhaps also in (brackets)
Scene Headings – Scene headings underlined and in bold, perhaps always starting a new page
Dialogue – just in clear normal type. Some writers think about the rhythm and how they want to convey the sense of how something might be spoken so if a character is running all their words together theymightleavethespacesoutlikethis! Or if a character is shouting they might either put it in CAPITALS or Make the font much bigger to emphasise the volume. And remember to be consistent and use the notes to the reader that you have outlined on page two.