When I teach Screenwriting and work with my clients at ScriptDoctor, I tell them:
"With me you are getting a professional actor and director who is also a script analyst. Unlike any other script analyst I’ve met or read, my approach to writing and revision is inside out rather than outside in. Why? Because that’s what a good actor or director will look for in your script. This is not just the text, it’s the structures and the landscape you create in the Subtext that finally make a script pop, make it fly and make it sell to actors and directors. They look at how dynamic and exciting your story is in the Subtext -- not in how well you have applied some formulaic template for story to your script from the outside in."
In every action line, in every dialogue exchange, how much more is going on there than you see on the page? Directors and actors create the moment-by-moment reality of your screenplay and they are looking to see if you use Subtext. What are the characters trying to do that's not obviously being said? I recommend screenwriters take an acting class just to see how much is possible.
Aaron Sorkin was asked about writing The Social Network last year in Script Magazine. He liked the 14-page book proposal from Ben Mezrich’s publishers that he had a chance to read. He wanted in.
"Sorkin goes on to admit, “I didn’t know anything about Facebook any more than I know about a carburetor: I’ve heard the term, but I couldn’t open the hood of my car and point to it or tell you what it does.”
What drew him to the tale was its universal qualities. “The irony of it is, you could tell pretty much the same story about the invention of a really great toaster.
The story is as old as storytelling itself: friendship and loyalty. Jealousy and power. [emphasis added] Things Aeschylus or Shakespeare would have written about, or Paddy Chayefsky would have written about just a generation ago. Fortunately, none of them was available, so I got the job.”
I think his script did pretty well, don't you? It's because he works in the boldface areas above, in the Subtext: where directors and actors can make great Actor Moments out of the spaces he's given them in the script.