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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    General Boards    Questions or Comments  ›  How to fix tone problems in the second act?
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DarkSide546
Posted: September 7th, 2018, 1:35pm Report to Moderator
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I wrote a feature and the tone is set perfectly in the "teaser" (the part that grabs the audience's attention at the beginning of the script) But it loses its way a little bit in the second act a slowly finding the tone again in the third act.

My script is a horror-drama and I'm just having a hard time balancing out the drama with the horror.

How do you balance out two very different genres without making it feel like a drastic tone shift?

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DarkSide546  -  September 7th, 2018, 2:07pm
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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: September 7th, 2018, 1:46pm Report to Moderator
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You already know the only way: rewriting it into a consistent tone that matches the other parts.

What other way could there be?

We'd need a lot more specific info, and maybe the script itself to offer more complete solutions.
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DarkSide546
Posted: September 7th, 2018, 2:01pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Scar Tissue Films
You already know the only way: rewriting it into a consistent tone that matches the other parts.

What another way could there be?

We'd need a lot more specific info, and maybe the script itself to offer more complete solutions.


I've rewritten it a few times but I'm having trouble keeping it even. My script is a horror mostly and I don't want to flood it with just horror all the time. I'm just having a hard time balancing out the drama side of it with horror. How do you balance out two very different genres?

P.S. I updated the question. My bad, sorry.
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StevenClark
Posted: September 7th, 2018, 3:11pm Report to Moderator
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Iíve been working on a comedy/drama. Itís a first draft, and itís almost done and I havenít read it back yet. Still, what Iíve noticed myself doing is a sort of roller coaster act. One, two consecutive scenes comedy, the next dramatic, then comedy, and so in and so forth. Kinda curious to see how this all reads back, but it feels fairly smooth so far. Anyway, thatís how Iíve been approaching it ó just not wanting to get too caught up in any one genre for an extended period of time. Even some dramatic scenes are punctuated with comedic overtones. Weíll see how it goes.


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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: September 7th, 2018, 3:51pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from DarkSide546


I've rewritten it a few times but I'm having trouble keeping it even. My script is a horror mostly and I don't want to flood it with just horror all the time. I'm just having a hard time balancing out the drama side of it with horror. How do you balance out two very different genres?

P.S. I updated the question. My bad, sorry.


OK. Well, horror and drama mix perfectly well, so the only thing you really need to make sure is that your dramatic themes are present in the overly horror bits, and that you keep the oppressive horror tone during the more drama bits.

All stories are basically drama. Really all you're doing with the Horror is taking aspects of your drama (Eg Crisis of Faith, Exorcist, Racism: Get  Out etc) and amplifying them into a physical presence. So fear of aging becomes a Mummy, fear of death is a zombie etc So whatever the central dramatic conflict, just find some way to personify that as something frightening that constantly lurks in the background as an extension of the drama and that should be really all there is to it.
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Zombie Sean
Posted: September 7th, 2018, 4:19pm Report to Moderator
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Scar Tissue is right, having the full script (maybe post it here for reviews/feedback) will definitely help us.

Steven is also going in the right direction, having one to three consecutive scenes as one genre, and then the following scenes the other genre.

I've written a horror drama that'll be posted here shortly and during its first few drafts, I had the same problem. It starts off as a "grabber" and then drifts into a total drama-fest, and then the third act is all horror. It felt unbalanced. So I added some "horror" scenes within the "drama" scenes to balance it out. Did it work? I'm waiting to find out if and when anyone reads the script, but so far the additions have gotten good reception from people I've sent the script to.

What is the premise of your story? Maybe that'll help us be able to conjure up some ideas to add dramatic elements into your script. Mine, for instance, deals with the dramatic theme of death and suicide. What struggles are your characters going through that makes the horror element just as horrific for them than they're already experiencing? Is it a break up? A loss of a friend or family member? Has someone gone missing? Is there a clash of interest between two friends/characters? There's plenty of ways to create drama in a horror.

Horror brings out the most emotions, in my opinion, of anyone. Fear is a strong emotion that brings out the truth of people. Is a character hiding something from another character? Does this horrific element cause a character to change for the better or worse? Maybe play off of the horror to bring out the drama in these characters. Maybe there's tension between two characters (Night of the Living Dead), or a character accidentally kills another character, and these characters were close friends (The Descent). Watch more horror movies, or ones that are considered dramas as well, and see what elements they bring into the story.

I'm rambling now, but hopefully this helps.

Sean


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