With scriptwriting, there’s nothing like hearing a scene read out loud by the cast to know whether or not it’s really working. TV shows should have readthroughs, although budget cuts and scheduling difficulties often mean they’re scrapped. And even when they do happen, lots of actors don’t bother to give a performance, they just rattle through the lines, which can be really harrowing for the screenwriter.
Having recently branched out into radio with a dramatisation of Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles for BBC Radio 4, I was delighted to be in the studio all this week as the show was recorded.
Derek Jacobi and Hayley Atwell led a terrific cast, and because scenes are recorded in complete takes, you get a really good feel for the dynamics. As a writer it was possible to keep tweaking lines and tailoring words to individual actors right up to the last moment.
Keep tinkering… keep tinkering… the words can always be improved…