I hit a roadblock with my screenplay. Fine, that’s not entirely accurate as I outlined the rest of the story, write the next scene and then go back to where I was stuck later. But I want to give this part at least a go before I move on. As I outlined the story already this part that I’m having trouble with isn’t a plot point but more of a question of how I should write the scene in the script. At this point several of the characters that belong to an occult group chant in an ancient-sounding language. Should I take the time to make up words and write them out in the script?
My first and foremost concern is that it would look and possibly sound too corny if I try making up a language. I’m not going to bother too much with establishing the grammar of the language and so forth so that the dialogue could actually be translated into English. (Then again, if I do go down this route, should I?) Something like this would work rather well in a fantasy novel. While the story that I’m writing has its fantasy elements, the focus is on the creepy aspect of it. (I don’t tend to use the term “horror” as I typically don’t write the standard horror story. That, and I avoid using labels when I can.)
Then again, would it look too much like a shortcut if I simply write “Those on the floor begin chanting in a made-up language” and leave it at that? Not only would that look lazy, it could be regarded as lack of instruction for the actors. The idea is that they all chant the same thing. At some point somebody is going to have to come up with it. But is that the job of the screenwriter, or somebody else in the process of making the movie?
I suppose my concern there is an example of a more general issue that I sometimes struggle with. I think of writing the screenplay sometimes as I would a novel or short story. I try to write it as if however was reading it would get the same dramatic effect as a movie-goer. However, a script is intended to be instructive. How much of the writing of it be dramatic?
I posed this question on Facebook and got one response from a friend that if I’m inspired to make up the language, then I should. It really isn’t a matter of inspiration. I’m not trying to get out of doing the work. That part I don’t mind. I just don’t want to put something in the screenplay when the screenplay would be better without it. My concern is really more of a technical nature. What is the correct thing to do with this issue in writing a screenplay?