Rehearsal Script AnalysisBefore rehearsal day, a lot of script analysis needs to take place. This analysis can take many forms, but a variety of questions need to be answered to get the job done right. This process can happen individually or as a result of a brainstorming session between the creative minds on your project.

Group Analysis vs. Individual Analysis

In order to benefit from group analysis, it is important to foster an environment that is open and accepting. Ideas should be shared without censorship, and fully investigated before being dismissed. The snowball effect is very powerful in this environment, although this is only useful when everyone is accepting and comfortable.

Individual analysis can be a little more difficult, as it is harder to avoid censoring yourself. Self-doubt comes along with any creative endeavour, so you need to be aware of these thoughts and ask yourself questions to keep moving forward.

The Process

No matter how the analysis takes place, you’re going to need to answer many questions in order to break the script down successfully. If some of these elements aren’t addressed before rehearsal, you may end up wasting everyone’s time while you figure out what should have already been established. As long as you’ve followed the framework below, you should be moving in the right direction.

Questions to Ask

The first question to ask during pre-rehearsal script analysis revolves around why you chose the project. When you first discovered this project, something about it excited you. What were your big ideas? You must have envisioned something when you first read the material, so what really captured your imagination?

Next, think about the characters. Which characters can you relate to the most and why? Are there any that you dislike? Does the situation mirror one from your life, allowing you to bring something personal to the material? These questions allow you to identify the things which you bring to the table that others cannot.

As you read through individual scenes, think about your reaction.  Are you worried about anything in he scene?  Have you done all of the necessary research? Are there any lines you might want to change? If there are some lines you’re absolutely in love with, try to think about why that is so that you don’t lose the magic. Be honest with yourself. What are your feelings about this scene in particular? Can you enhance the emotional impact somehow?

Where We Were vs. Where We’re Going

As you are analyzing a particular scene, it’s best to take a step back and think about it objectively. Think about the context–what happens right before this scene takes place? Did any significant length of time pass since the last scene ended? How was this change in time presented?

We tend to think about each scene individually, but it is important to never lose sight of the narrative as a whole. The audience will view the material as a cohesive whole, after all, so consider that audience as you consider the script.  Are they learning something new before the end of the scene you are considering?

As always, you need to think about the characters. Are they leaving this scene with knowledge that they didn’t have when they went in? Most of the characters have some type of motivation; are they doing anything within this scene to get closer to their goals? Is the audience rooting for them or against them?

What Do The Characters Feel?

While considering the motivation and feelings of the characters, you need to remind yourself about the way these personalities are being framed through your personal prejudices. Look at each character and note the things you have in common with them. Try to focus these thoughts into tangible memories, as it will be easier to tie emotion to the scene that way.

Then think about what the characters are trying to accomplish . If someone is getting closer/further away from something they want, does this impact the others at all? Are there any character turns in the scene, and is the scene written around this development?

Overall, this is the moment in the script analysis when you think about the various relationships in the material and the way this scene will influence them. This analysis should include the way the audience feels about the characters as well, as this is the most important relationship of all.

The Deeper Meaning

Now that we’ve taken a look at all of the relationships in the script, you can look at the deeper emotions involved in the scene itself. Break down all of the emotional elements of the scene for individual review, and then look at everything as part of the larger picture. Associative imagery and metaphors are best ironed out during this phrase.

This analysis is when you cement what the scene is really about–not just the events, but the larger theme being explored. If this theme isn’t properly identified, the tone of the project can change entirely.

Think back to your original vision and make sure that everything is lining up correctly. Remember that every question doesn’t need to be answered, and a little ambiguity can go a long way. If there is more than one explanation available, embrace that sense of wonder. The audience will thank you.

Beats and Context

With all of the emotions in check, you can start to plan the specific beats. Does this scene go the way the audience anticipates it will? Will the big changes happen at the beginning or end? Location, timing, and context are a big focus here. Are the characters in a setting which comes along with certain assumptions? Can those be used to your benefit? If the scene centers on an emotional event, think of some alternate representations to analyze from all angles.

What is happening in the background? Is anyone reacting to an outside influence? How will this be presented to the audience? These questions should get you to think about the way all of these motivations will be represented on the screen.

The Less-Than-Glamorous Bits and Pieces

Lastly, you should focus on the small, but very important, details. While you should plan out the details, you’ll need to also plan for wiggle room because problems are always a possibility. In those moments, alternate plans come in handy.

If the setting is outdoors, could weather effects play a factor? Think about the physical elements of the scene which may or may not come together as planned. Exactly how will movements of great emotional importance be displayed? Do you have everything blocked and storyboarded with a shot list?

These details aren’t the most fun parts of this script analysis process, but they are the most important. If this final portion isn’t taken seriously, all of the previous planning is for nothing. The work you’ve done to plot out the emotional roadmap is nothing without a good framework for turning these dreams into a reality.