Notes from a Screenreader: Writing IKEA Style

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Photo via Go Into the Story.

A script, ideally, is one of those 300 square foot IKEA show apartments with every nook and cranny made useful two or three times over.

Static placeholder scenes stick out like a farmhouse table. Written to clarify the writer’s thoughts on a single element, it sneaks through rewrites without ever becoming dramatic.

To IKEA your placeholder scenes:

  • Create one large focal point. Redesign the scene with theme in mind. Have a character tell a story, change the setting, or add action that references your main idea.
  • Put storage under the stairs. Use talking scenes to develop characters and their relationships by separating their points of view, or turn it into subtext. Have them argue about the dog instead of the affair.
  • Declutter. Small spaces are overwhelmed by too much stuff. If it doesn’t serve a purpose, if it is redundant, if it is out of proportion, put it in storage.

IKEA your rewrite to optimize your space.

ANNIE LABARBA 

Annie is a screenwriter, story consultant, and reader for major screenplay competitions.

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