I’ve been thinking recently about writing for 3D: do screenwriters work differently when they know their material will be realized in stereographic projection? Stereographer Clyde DeSouza argues they should.According to DeSouza, the key differentiating factor between 2D and 3D cinematic structure is an increased need for “dwell time” in the latter or an opportunity for the viewer’s gaze to dwell on the stereographic environments projected on the screen. Screenwriters, he suggests, should create opportunities for dwell time in their writing.
Would an analysis of screenplays written for 3D bear this out? Have successful 3D screenwriters included additional dwell time in their descriptions of the storyworld’s mise-en-scene? I’ve tracked down the screenplays for Avatar and Piranha 3D to find out (and I’m looking for a copy of Hugo).
Dwell time certainly is not unique to 3D. Adam Ganz has a fascinating article coming out in the forthcoming issue of the Journal of Screenwriting in which he explores the relationship between the descriptive mode of presentation in the screenplay and the lens-based writing practiced by scientists to describe their lens-based observations (through microscopes or telescopes). Ganz offers multiple examples (including one from a favorite script of mine, The Apartment) of screenwriters dwelling on the mise-en-scene to frame rich environments for their reader/audience. I would argue that The Apartment is an unusually descriptive script when compared to most others I’ve read, but might it serve as an example for those looking to crack the secret of double lens-based writing?