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Saturday, June 04, 2011

Dexter 1x12 - Born Free

This is a real treat.

I've been a fan of Dexter since season one and one of the highlights of that season was that season one finale where Dexter finally faces down against his nemesis, the Ice Truck killer.  (Yes, I could be all spoiler-y here, and yes the episode's a good 5-6 years old now, but still, I'd rather keep the surprise intact for those who've yet to see it)

What we have here is a 60 page 'Full Pink' Shooting Script for episode 1x12 dated 10/12/06, written by Daniel Cerone and Melissa Rosenberg.  There are no stated Act breaks, no teasers or tags, just 60 pages burning straight through from tip to tail-feather.  (Note: download it here.)

And damn this thing is a beast.  A freaking beast.  Yes, I know, I'm suddenly very aware that I may have unintentionally front-loaded my reading material, that all the good things to be said about scripts will have been said -- that somewhere along the way I'm going to have to increase my 'script vocabulary' lest I make for some very, very tepid write-ups.

But I digress.

What this script excels at is creating a sense of palpable tension -- there are scenes in this script, even though I'd seen the episode and knew what was coming next, where I found myself gritting my teeth in anticipation.

Technically speaking, one thing that really caught my attention in this script was the heavy sprinkling of camera directions throughout -- another thing that I know I've been frankly told 'not to do'. 

And yet, here, it helps to pull the reader in; it sets the stage and makes the script feels quite cinematic.  That said, the description is quite heavy and includes a lot of... actor direction?  For example:

"He looks at her, sees her searching his face for the man she loved.  Emotion, concern, begins to fill his expression... She sees a shred of humanity in him, recognizes the man she fell in love with.  Clings to it."

It's all quite fantastic for the reader -- and I'm sure helpful for the actors -- but again, it seems to go against a lot of the stuff I've been told over the years: Scripts as scaffolds, think of it like architecture, etc.  (Not saying I always agree or follow said outlooks myself, but that's what I hear).

Then again, whatever works.  Whatever makes the sale, right?

This episode clips along and barely stops to catch its breath until the climactic finale and really, I don't have much to say in criticism here.  Just... read this script.

Tomorrow is Friends -- an early, early episode of Friends.


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