Action is a tricky thing because on a page it can seem like a small paragraph but in AD terms(in 1/8s of a page); 1/8 of a page can end up being a full days work. When you write action in your script It helps to be overly descriptive in some ways, and vague in others. When you are dealing with pyro-technics it is good to explain how big of an explosion but thats as far as it can go. Long before getting to set you will have had meetings with pyro-techs and they are already working on getting the explosion you want.
Fight scenes are where you can get descriptive, mostly with the environment the characters are in. Stunt guys are very well trainined and letting them be creative with the fight and offer something to you is in my opioin much better than writing each punch, which trust me I’ve seen. It is a good idea to pick things that are unique to the story, and put those in. Say your movie is about a ninja-spy that is stealing data from Jean Claude Van-Dam; you are going to want to write in when a ninja star is used and when JCVD slams a steal beam into the ninja hurting him; showing his weakness.
A lot of times we can think when writing, as traditionally taught, that a page more or less equals a minute. The Reason I say this is that if you are working on an action script scaling 120+ pages with a lot of these fight scenes and explosion lines, you are looking at an easy 3 hour film. The reason this can hinder you is that people might start to get impatient waiting for the climax, and we’ve all heard the phrase “it was good but an hour too long”. If you have a lot of action through the film you need to have a grandiose climax.
One thing to think of when writing an action script is that people don’t go to an action film to think, so keep the story simple. You can still have great characters with arcs, and have a great plot where life changing events take place, but don’t make your audience hunt for answers. They will get frustrated very fast and eventually not like the film.
At the end of the day, everyone is different and being creative and compelling when writing is the simple key. So, have fun writing your explosions, car chases, fight scenes, bomb defusions, and building-wrecking action sequences, I’ll be watching!
What do you think? Leave me a comment and tell me know!
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