Stage directions

One of my particular scriptwriting idiosyncrasies is that I delight in penning bizarre, tortuous, or just plain weird stage directions. Most of the time they still make enough sense for my directors to work out where I’m going, and indeed one of the reasons I do it is as a somewhat obscure attempt to get them to surprise me. But sometimes I write things that leave them blinking blankly. So it was, unexpectedly, with:

CAPTAIN SCARLET TRANSITION TO:

As it happened, Richard, the long-suffering director of my current project, had accidentally overlooked this particular line until we blew headlong into it in studio today. ‘WTF?’ he exclaimed, showing admirable restraint, perhaps on the grounds that my parents had been on a state visit earlier.

Discussion ensued. Eventually, Barry the cameraman sauntered over to see if he could help. I described what I wanted.

‘Oh,’ he said, ‘a Captain Scarlet transition. We’re set up for that, thought it might be fun.’

And so it was. Though half the crew did have something of an argument concerning whether one should zoom on the lines, or between them. The other half of the crew looked on baffled, and I think were still confused even after we’d shot the sequence.

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