SCREENPLAY to PLAY SCRIPT... easy or difficult?
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Difficult--usually. Screenplays are an exercise in visual storytelling while plays depend on verbal storytelling. And to paraphrase David Mamet, film is about what happens next while plays don't need that same driver. Put another way, plays are nearly always about the consequences of events while screenplays are usually about the events themselves. These are generalizations, but more true than not.
I agree with Richard. But also ask yourself: can I do this story on a unit set or does the narrative need to be in many locations? If the latter is so, it's a film.
As a follow-on to LindaAnn's: Can the stage version tell the story with a maximum of 10 characters and ideally only 4. Most producers in the commercial or nonprofit theatre -- at least in the US -- figure the numbers can never be made to work to the bottom line with more than 10 performers in a straight play. Musicals are another matter.
I have done it. I had a screenplay that did not sell, and I had to agree that it was just not that good. But I still wanted to tell my story and decided that it could be told on stage. I am a playwright before a screenwriter anyway, so my script was heavy with dialog. It had way too many characters for a play, but I write for churches and the story fit well with what a church (probably a large church) might want to tell. I had to cut characters and remove some story lines because it seemed too long. I also had to move locations. I made most of the action take place in the same place, or for different homes... we just moved a couch around changing the cover, something that could be done quickly to show a different home, possibly moving it to the other side of the stage. It still has a lot of characters, but in a large church, they would probably have the ability to cast it. I have sold a few on my website, so I guess it has been performed. Would be interesting to see it.
Personally, I think playwriting is much easier. All dialogue. I really don't like describing the drapes. But... having said that. Unless you win a major contest, your story is not likely to go anywhere without schlepping it around to theatres. Have you entered your story in contests? One of my one act plays was a finalist in the Tennessee Williams One Act Play Festival and was then picked up by a play publisher. Now they do the schlepping through their website.
Good for you, Jean.
The main thing to remember is that fourth wall on the stage. Stage is dialogue and film is visual. You will need to do a lot of cutting but yes it can be done. I'm currently working on doing the opposite. My play 'Talk to the Hand' is being staged in NY by Fearless Productions soon but a lot of people feel it would make a strong film so I am in the process of learning about that with the help of Syd Fields books. Good luck.
I have done one...screenplay to play...yes it is a good idea and you will derive much pleasure and more when you see the live action on stage.
I would suggest that you limit the number of stage sets to a small number, or use symbolic set pieces that will serve to represent several different locations. If you "ask" the theater audience to imagine that a single folding chair represents the pilot's seat of a jet fighter, they will do so. If you ask them to imagine that it is a seat in the waiting room of a hospital, they will do so. You will also want to limit the number of characters in your stage script if you wish to see it produced.