Assignment: Upload a scanned copy of the score for your play or scene. This scanned copy can be uploaded as media and then embedded. This scan should be done late in the process either right before performance or at performance.
To create your score you must copy the scene (or the whole play if you are directing a whole play). This needs to be a printed copy. On that photocopy, begin the initial breakdown using one of the methods described below. Once you have broken it down, add all the other elements indicated below. All of the information should be on the “side” or actual physical copy of the script, not a separate document. It should be available for you to refer to during rehearsal. Please make your writing as legible as possible.
Method 1: The Expansion Method
- Divide script into moments between characters, these can be labeled either moments or the more common term – ‘Beats’. A beat can be long or short, between one character, two or many – but basically subscribes to one thought. Different for different directors but the more specific, the more detailed you can be the better. Number each beat. You can divide these numbers by designating them by Act if you like, but then later you will have to make sure to be specific when referring to these (as in ‘act two, beat 16’ as opposed to ‘in beat 57’ etc.)
- After you have successfully divided up the whole text in this manner, label each beat with a Beat Title. The title is reference for you so make it clear, creative and specific – let it be strong!
- Once you have successfully accomplished that, number and label each scene that is made up of these beats (some people label scenes then beats – its up to you) – The Scene Titles should be broader but no less strong. If your play doesn’t divide scenes for you, then do it yourself according to the way the beats fit together and where the general focus of a set of beats shifts.
- Once that is done, define the major events of the play – connecting them scene by scene, moment by moment – until you have the five or so major events in the story. Once that is done – Map where they fall, in terms of exposition, inciting action, rising action, point of attack, continued rising action, climax, falling action, catharsis, and denouement – conclusion. You don’t have to use all these words; some of them have very similar definitions – but subtle differences.
- Note: This Method doesn’t fit for all plays.
Method 2: The French Scene Method
- French Scenes employ the same ideas as the expansion method but divide scenes up by Entrances and Exits, not by interpretation or the playwright’s designation of scenes. French scenes still consist of beats and should be numbered. They can also be titled if you wish. If entrances and exits are Important to your play – this is the way to go. If your characters enter and remain for an entire act with no one else entering and exiting – this is not a great method to use in that case.
- French Scenes can also be graphed, either connected through out the play or inside of themselves.
Method 3: The Backwards and Forwards Method
- This method uses the words “Events” instead of moments or beats – and two “Events’ lead to an “Action”. The idea behind this method is that every Action of the play is born of the Event that happened just before it. The idea then is to start at the end of the play, on the last event and work backwards until you reach the beginning of the play. The object of the play is to make clear only the essential elements of the story, while everything else drops away. This method is especially helpful for confusing or convoluted plays. As I noted with the other methods, there are many plays that are hard to look at through this method.
And if you want to get even more specific…
Copy the script on one side so that the other is blank. You can use the other side to either create blocking notes or for additional analysis including:
- Objectives: Each unit is made up of objectives (what characters want in terms of verbs). If you are a very zealous director you can begin to plot those out as well. Each character will have their own Super Objective for the play – First impressions on those go in character Descriptions.
- Actor Coaching: Directing notes that strike you as imperative to the beat – such as movements, thoughts or ideas for the actors.
- Playwright’s intent: Ideas you feel the playwright was trying to get across moment to moment. Message, metaphor, imagery, repetition – etc.
- Abstract Images: Visual impressions for moments, characters, actors, set designer, costume designer – etc.
- Thorough completion of assignment as dictated above.
- Neat and mostly legible.
- Scores with a lot of content added by director will receive higher grades.