The other day I accidentally started watching a movie I had seen before with the director’s commentary turned on. It was fascinating. You get a whole different view of the movie, and no matter what the genre or special effects I think the commentary takes the magic away and turns it into a product, so if you are going to do it, make sure you do it with a film you already know.
Intrigued by this experience I tried it again with an old favourite of mine; The Princess Bride. The edition I have has a commentary by William Goldman the author of both the book and the screenplay. How have I not done this sort of thing before? I also have the screenplay book, so not only did I get to hear Goldman’s commentary as the movie played, but I could read along and see the script directions, the deviations from the script and truly see how the script formatting translates into a movie. I think I learned more from that session than I had from the four or five screenwriting books I own.
It probably seems blatantly obvious to all of you out there, but I can see there is so much to learn about this industry from those oft-ignored commentaries. I think I might just have to revisit all of my favourites and see what gems can be uncovered.
Maybe scriptwriting is not so out-of-reach after all?