Reading Radio Scripts – time-saving entertainment that you may not have considered (and that provides a huge boost to your imagination)
How to save time and have fun
I’ve always been an avid reader, but the busier life gets, the less time I have for the things I enjoy. It’s harder and harder to fit regular reading into my schedule (and I’m an English teacher). The less time I have, the more I find myself turning to a highly underrated source of reading entertainment.
I’ve been an enthusiast for scripts since I was very young. I have hundreds of scripts (screenplays, teleplays, stage plays, and radio plays) on my shelves at home. I even have a number of rare collections that you would be hard-pressed to find anywhere else. I enjoy reading and re-reading them on a regular basis.
Interestingly, the most rewarding scripts are probably those people think about last when someone mentions the word “play” or “drama”; that is, radio plays. In many ways they are far superior to other plays for reading entertainment (more on this in a minute).
Radio scripts provide you with a deep and satisfying experience
But for the time poor reader of the 21st Century, scripts are a surprisingly overlooked source of reading entertainment. A script has the following massive advantage over its near neighbour, the novel. A script can be read in one third of the time (often even less) it takes to read a novel, and will still leave the reader with the same depth and richness of experience. Scripts, in terms of simple word count, are pared back to the bone, yet just as emotionally powerful and involving as any prose-form story.
In terms of power and artistic merit, and as a vehicle for great stories, scripts can be the equal in storytelling and language of any literary form, and just as timeless. Consider the continuing popularity of Shakespeare. His plays are undeniable works of literary genius and can be consumed in a few short hours. The 16th Century language may be a barrier to some readers, but that has little to do with the power of the literary-form itself.
Radio scripts are personal and people centered
What makes scripts so compelling? Scripts are about people, firstly. A script is constructed from dialog. And dialog is provided by people. Scripts place interesting characters front and center. They provide a window onto the world that we view from the outside. They engage our social imagination to decode the action. We see people in scripts, generally, from the outside, using their words and actions, to give us the clues to their inner reality. Unlike the novel, which spells out the inner world of characters by telling us what they are thinking and feeling, we are forced, in a script, to infer the inner life of the character, and a great script can help us to infer great depths, such as when a character is lying to themselves and the world around them, or when a character is hiding deep scars and wounds – all through dialog.
Radio scripts boost your imagination
And this brings us to one of the most rewarding aspects of scripts as a form of reading matter; their impact on the imagination.
While film, television, and stage plays are often as much (or more) about providing visual cues to the audience as they are about words on a page (they are meant to be seen by the eye after all), there is a species of play that takes place completely in the imagination – the radio play (or as it is more often called these days, audio drama). Unlike their visual cousins, radio plays are designed to collaborate with the imagination of the audience to create the world in which the reader/listener becomes immersed. In this they share a lot in common with novels. But there is one major difference. The world of the radio play is created almost exclusively without narration inside your mind, and, possibly because of this, it is incredibly powerful at immersing us in the story.
Read the following short extract…
JEFF: Hey Lois, take a look at the tree over yonder.
LOIS: Gee, Jeff, it’s enormous. One hundred and fifty feet, if it’s and inch… and so twisted. I’ve never seen a pine tree like it.
Were you aware of the strenuous and beneficial workout those four sentences just gave your brain?
You hear or read the word “tree” and there in your mind, instantly, a tree appears. It may just be a placeholder at first, but it is nonetheless complete, a tree unique to you. No-one else sees quite the same tree you do. It might be an oak, or a maple, or a eucalyptus, or any kind of tree, real or imagined. Furthermore, your brain doesn’t just create a tree, it creates the entire world around that tree; the ground, the backdrop, the sky, the entire environment. The word “tree” is taken by your brain and amplified far beyond its existence as four letters on the page or the sound used to express the word. Your brain engages in the act of creation instantly and without any conscious effort. Totally amazing!
Then as the dialog unfolds you learn more about the tree and, regardless of your initial image, your brain redraws the tree into a huge twisted pine WITHOUT CONFUSION. And all of this is done by you, the reader, without confusion or contradiction, and without the need for a long prose description of the environment in which the dialog is situated. This is extraordinary. Reading scripts is an ability you want to cultivate and utilize.
In my view, everybody should be reading radio scripts, but few are aware of the great entertainment value they provide. For time-saving, imagination building, entertainment, scripts just can’t be beaten.
So are you ready to try out some great, quick and easily digested, yet deep and immersive, entertainment you may not have considered before? Be the first to try out some of these great suggestions (and they are all free)…
74 Great Free Audio Drama Scripts
This collection of great free entertainment includes genres such as Pulp Adventure, Gaslamp Mystery, Fantasy Noir, Space Opera, Tales with Twists, and other imaginative entertainment – all at the click of a button – and with many more on the way.