So, what’s the right way to read punctuation in a script? The answer is clear. It depends.
The copywriter only has the words on the page to try to help you hear what is in their heads. Sometimes, a writer will add so many details before you ever get to the actual copy – notes about the voice style and delivery – that it can actually be confusing. This is especially seen at the audition stage. Most of the time when you get the actual copy, that is all you see – just the words you are supposed to say.
So, how do you “read” the provided punctuation? Comma for comma? I try not to let the punctuation or lack there of get in the way of first understanding what is actually being said. Writing for the ear is different than for the eye, but many copywriters are slaves to the AP Stylebook – or their old college grammar textbooks. They are used to writing white papers and annual reports and running it past the legal team. I’ve written scripts for major corporations and had them come back heavily “corrected” – to the point where it wasn’t an audio visual script anymore, but back to an article with passive sentence structure and far too many buzz words – and far too many compound clauses and run-on sentences.
This week’s column over at Edge Studio is all about how to handle punctuation.