Thursday, January 13, 2011


...provides the reader or the audience the background, the plot, the setting, the supporting characters, and the theme to help us understand the story.

As a very neophyte screenwriter I've been attentively watching several of my favorite TV shows and observed how the writers crafted their expositions. Of course, wishing to have the luxury of reading the script at the same time the episode was aired would have been cool but I can only do so much. Sure, there are DVD sets and Ebay (hahaa) but I can't certainly buy all of them. I can only choose. Anyways, here are a few of them...

For Supernatural,  concise crafting of the Winchester brothers dialogue (not too wordy) delivered the plot quickly and the who's who they had to deal with. The What was usually presented through reading unexplained deaths in the newspaper like from Season Three: The Kids are Alright. Given the nomadic lifestyle and their type of job, the brothers used newspapers as a source to check out killings or disappearances, which they could tell had a supernatural cause connected to it. Information gathering on a certain lore was through the internet, the local library or their father's journal , which was heavily used from Season One and Season Two, I think). I can't recall if in the third season the journal was prominent. I may have to wait for the reruns. Through later seasons, the newspapers were very handy and information passed by their family friend/fellow hunter, Bobby, would launch the brothers into full on investigative mode.

For Smallville, the characters have to lay it out for the audience a little. Exposition was delivered between two or three characters, depending which big three of  week story is it.  The presentation sort of followed one of the characters thought processes like a normal brainstorming session to deduce either the motive of the antagonist (an example between calculating Tessa and feisty Chloe in Season Nine: Sacrifice or the solution of a problem  the main characters were facing like in Season Six: Justice.

For Stargate: Atlantis, Dr. Rodney McKay  usually provides the background of what the team has encountered as being the closest expert in Ancients and their technology. An example from Season One: Hot Zone.  I sometimes found that giving the scientist the whole brunt of the story (in several other episodes) can be a bit tiresome and drag everything down. Would a particular episode fared better if the exposition was given to another 'expert' or it was broken down with another semi-regular character? Maybe.

Something to remember for the day: "Good exposition, however, never simply "dumps" information in our lap." Read more from The Script Lab. 

Now, let's try to apply it with my drafts.


  1. A very interesting note on story exposition, Raine! Yes I notice it seems to be the normal pattern for the Winchester bros from SPN to check up on new incidents by way of newspapers, given their background as demon hunters who travel all over America to do their job. You're very spot on with SV too!

    WOW I'm sensing your blog will be full of rich information for screenwriters everywhere. Very impressive! This is my new favorite blog destination! x

  2. Initially, I thought why would the newspapers be that relevant and then I realized the brothers having no permanent addresses - the papers have to be where they get their case loads. I don't think hunters call each other for some heads up on next sightings and unexplained events or there would have been an ep showing that. I found it amazing how it all worked out in the SPN world. I got SV on the dot! Wonderful. Hehehe.

    Aww, thanks, Jules! *hugs* I strive to put my 2 cents in and hopeful come out sensible. lolz. I'll be building this and get around to following blogs that interest me too.

  3. Yes you're right, it all seems to make sense in the SPN world, what with all the hunters individually setting their sights on new supernatural cases. They keep it private from other hunters since you won't know who to trust, anyway. LOL

    Aww you're welcome. I see so much potential in the blog x I love how you categorize the sections too! Bravo! *hugs*


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