How is tone consistency important?
For today let’s focus on tone and how consistent tone makes difference to a screenplay outline. Comedy movies have a funny tone. If someone adds adult scenes or murder mysteries into it, they destroy the consistency. A murder scene is more suited to a horror film, not a comedy one. This is more of an end of the spectrum sort of look. Let’s also look at the cross-genre. When someone is doing comedy/action, they need to see that whether the tone establishes it or not. Sometimes scripts introduce a certain tone and later add elements that don’t necessarily pay off. There are so many scripts where writers develop the scenario giving hints of adventure, intriguing storyline, and humor. However, at one point all of sudden it goes really dark and doesn’t come back. That script might have had potential but the inconsistent tone ruined its chance.
Dark humor and horror are liked by many people. Still, writers find it difficult to manage. Writers such as the Coen brothers and movies like queen Tarantino are appealing as they nail the tone. Migrating from comedy to very dark genres is quite common. Sometimes writers question how to write a film that maintains one tone? What could be done to merge two tones in a way that keeps the darkness intact? Scripts that start off from a great point might lose their charm due to inconsistency. The start of a movie might give hints about it being a comedy but intense scenes take viewers by surprise. It makes the movie feel completely different. Disturbing scenes in a comedy film don’t blend in.
A writer needs to take care of the consistency in a script
An entire comedy film might not make the audience constantly chuckle but keeps the mood light. It’s important to have continuity in tone. Filmmaking is like a giant orchestra. There are people on the strings, handling brass, and much more. Everybody has to be in tune. The same goes for tone. An audience needs to feel the harmony. If the audience suspects loopholes or discontinuity, they might start to lose interest. When a script doesn’t communicate its message, things become boring. Writing a film script is just like selling an emotion. Writers promising fun humorous intriguing adventure, need to deliver that. Otherwise, people start to think that it wasn’t what they were promised.
How to add in different elements without destroying consistency?
New writers wonder that how can they blend in different elements. Like managing creepy factors with the funny ones. Mixing horror scenes with funny situations isn’t easy. Yet, it’s doable. Movies like scream are proof of it. The movie works because the tone never shifts. Across all modalities, such as character development, sound, and picture, everything is consistent. Some characters are set up to be humorous but then go in a direction where they become evil. It doesn’t fit well with the audience.
The fundamental problem lies in the setup. Issues of tone also generate from there. Whether or not the writer set up the right tone for the character makes a huge difference. Scripts unable to deliver according to their promise, become inconsistent midway. Hinting at certain amounts of darkness at the start is a better approach. As writers don’t introduce dark elements at the start, readers are unable to digest them later on. To an extent, they might even be disappointed.
It’s a hard thing to explain because the tone is kind of an instinctual thing. No one can justify why two strings sound good together. It’s just like that. Likewise tone matters. Characters merge and when everything is harmonized, the script goes in sync. Odd things might work at times. So, one cannot say that there are absolutely no chances of different elements binding together. There are definitely such circumstances. However, there are more places where the audience sees it as a flaw.
Multiple tones can work together but need to blend. A script must have all elements in a balanced way. Forrest Gump is an outstanding movie. It makes people laugh, cry and experience various emotions. Its sets up everything beautifully and it’s consistent with every emotion. Managing tone gives a new perspective to an ordinary film.
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