Mozart in the Jungle – communicative big print

Yeah, so I just saw so many examples of big print that I wanted to write about Mozart some more. Like before, pilot script is here.

Here I want to reflect on efficient and effective big print. I was wafting on with some thoughts in the previous post about scene description as poetry, and how you can push your reader into understanding your intent with precise clarity even without being over explain-y. Playing an expert game with the reader that leads them down the right path with just the right combination of words. I found some inspiring examples of that here. And one that… wasn’t.

So, for starters. There’s this baby:


Some writers, including me, may be tempted to cut up this speech more. In fact, some writers might be encouraged to chop it up because of some people’s weird aversion to long speeches (I can understand why this is important in certain contexts). Tempted writers might let a couple of sentences go, and then interrupt the speech with further description – you know, like ‘stares down Thomas’ or ‘gets in close, intimidating’ or ‘swaggers through the absorbed crowd, holding court with ease’. But really, what I love about this is that the ‘back to the room’ speaks volumes about what the character could possibly do as the character speaks. And the actor is given the freedom to interpret – yet still directed with a solid sense of intent. Even though it’s very ‘actiony’, talking about a character’s posture and position, it communicates equally an emotional state that the reader would naturally read as growing more pronounced throughout the speech.

OK, and then there’s this:


This one was interesting to read. It was all going swimmingly, and then I got to the word ‘outburst’ and I was thrown. The other adjectives/verbs in the scene: flashes, pained, peeled, tosses, marches. When outburst comes in at the end… it seems out of place. It doesn’t seem the like the right word. Like – it’s too harsh. And it doesn’t feel like outburst stems naturally from the earlier action that I read up to this point. I feel confused about the tone of that scene because of my interpretation of what I see a mismatched of words. I lack an understanding of the character’s emotional throughline. And it takes me out of the reading.

But, then there’s this beauty:


Shakes at its strength. That’s it. I’m done. Like. Perfect. KILLING IT. It perhaps is just me, but the ‘shakes at its strength’ does more than instruct the actress at that particular second about how to react to the alcohol. It informs her next line of dialogue, and the rest of the scene. Those words lower Hailey’s status in comparison to Cynthia. Hailey is the young, inexperienced, naive one. When she utters ‘the best?’ in response to Cynthia’s next line, it reads to me as she should be saying it with a hesitant but wide-eyed curiosity. Keen to impress, but scared about where the night may go. And I think all this just because she shook at the strength of the whiskey. And this is why I loveeeeee big print. And why I love Mozart in the Jungle.

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