Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Find That Voice

My wife usually proof reads all my scripts, mainly because I can't spell for shit. Thank God for spell checkers, that's what I say. I'm a writer, an artist, a creator of images from words, not a bloody dictionary. Only my wife is in the last few weeks of pregnancy and tells me she's suffering from low blood pressure, which makes her too dizzy to read my work. I think it's just an excuse to lie on our bed, watching Eastenders and stuffing her face with chocolate. So what do I do now?

I have mentioned the speech facility in Final Draft before on my blog, but I haven't used it in such a long time. Time to give it another go. Thank fuckity fuck I did. What a valuable tool.

I assigned different voices to each character and started the first run through. I timed it too. The script was Buddha Of Birmingham, a 32 page sitcom. The script ran to roughly 28 mins; not bad, as it leaves two minutes for the titles. It was nice to know the script was the right length.

The other thing I noticed immediately were the errors that riddled the script. I'd already proof read the script manually before I ran it through the speech facility, and I was amazed to find I had missed loads. It was also extremely helpful in highlighting dialogue that didn't work, enabling me to change it, so it would be easier for actors to say.

If you've never used the speech facility on Final Draft, give it a go. Trust me, it'll help you polish your script better than any proof read.

13 comments:

Phill Barron said...

I love this facility, particularly since my scripts tend to have loads of swearing in them and making a computer swear is hilarious.

Lucy said...

Clearly my friends you too are pregnant since this facility is completely useless in every way. If these were real voices, with real inflection - hell yes it would be useful. But getting Stephen Hawking to read your script is as useful as a stick in the eye.

Phill Barron said...

But the swearing! The swearing!

Piers said...

Ah, Lucy, Lucy, Lucy. How wrong you are.

The mechanical voices in Final Draft let you hear the dialogue. It's another tool to get some distance from your work.

Some people read aloud themselves; but then you're reading as well as taking notes. More difficult.

And sure, neither of these are as good as getting real actors to read your work. But they're both better than just looking at the page.

Lucy said...

Ah Piers, Piers, Piers.

Stuff it up your jumper.

Punk.

; )

Dom Carver said...

The mechanical voices ARE helpful!!! If your dialogue sounds crap when read by FD then you're in trouble, but if it actually sounds not too bad then your writing genius has been proven and you should give yourself a hearty slap on the back.

Piers said...

Jumper? Ripped T-shirt more like.

Prog-rocker.

Lucy said...

LIES!

You had a big old grunge-style jumper when I met you. And a beard. SWAMPY!

Chip Smith said...

Lucy - if you were writing a script that featured Stephen Hawking, do you think the Final Draft facility would you help then? ;-)

I saw him in Cambridge once - he almost ran me over on his way to a cashpoint.

Jason Arnopp said...

Must admit, my vote currently goes with the 'It's undeniably useful if all your characters are disabled scientists with voiceboxes' crowd.

But I might give it a go again, sometime...

martin said...

so lets get this straight, you think your computer is talking to you now do you?

Dom Carver said...

Martin: Yes, it stops the voices in my head from controlling me.

Jason: Try it, mate. Seriously, you'll come across so many mistakes in your scripts you didn't know were there. I was sceptical at first, but it does work. Trust me!!!!! Would I lie to you?????

Tim Clague said...

Hadn't thought about the spell checking use of that feature. Best way is still to use actors however - but this takes some organising.