Robert J. Sawyer

Hugo and Nebula Award-Winning Science Fiction Writer

The reading of Earthfall

by Rob - November 28th, 2009.
Filed under: Earthfall.

I very much enjoyed the WILDsound staged reading at the National Film Board theatre of my TV pilot script for a proposed series called Earthfall tonight.

The cast and the narrator (who read the stage directions) did a great job, but the script had been redacted (to my surprise) with the vast majority of the stage directions omitted — which might have been fine if the actors had actually been fully acting out the scenes, rather than just by and large reading into microphones on stands. Maybe as author, I’m too sensitive, but I think a lot of what was going on emotionally in the scenes that was there on the page was lost in this process. For instance, here’s the beginning of Act III as written, but only the parts in boldface were actually read to the audience:


There’s a mostly full moon, providing light. Hannah and Bryce walk through the forested margin at the edge of the road and emerge in an open field; a stand of additional trees is twenty metres ahead of them.

Things are still tense between them. They’re not holding hands; there’s physical distance between them; they’re looking in opposite directions.

Bryce looks up at the sky and traces an imaginary line with his index finger.


The Big Dipper is clearly visible, as is the North Star.

There. Polaris.

Hannah turns around, getting her bearings. She nods.

So I was right.

They’re in the middle of nowhere, but at least they now can head in the correct direction. They’re relieved, and the mood starts to turn. Hannah moves over to Bryce, and slips her arms around his neck.

Right as rain.

(smiling playfully back)
Just so we’re agreed…

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