Pretty much every book I have read, every class I've attended, every bit of information I've read about screenwriting says the exact same thing. And to the extent that you should be communicating through visuals in as terse a manner as possible, I agree...
But how do we explain writers like... Shane Black. He repeatedly defies this convention, gets scripts made, and no one seems to care that a large portion of his scripts are literally being told directly to the person reading them in a manner that could never "literally" be translated to the screen.
Note, that Shane Black isn't the only one. Lawrence Kasdan does it. Quentin Tarantino does it. The list goes on and on... but Shane Black is probably best known for it.
It donned on me as I read this from the afore mentioned blog:
"The irony of having a ‘sparse script’ to read is that readers and execs will appreciate the ‘easy read’ but they may not ‘get’ the key elements because of ‘what the writer hasn’t written’. That’s where the actors and director come in; that’s their job."
True. But does anyone honestly think that a script that producers may not 'get' because of 'what the writer hasn't written' is going to even get the chance for an actor or director to "come in?" More likely than not, the reason a producer will assume he did not 'get' the script is BECAUSE of the writing. That is not a good reflection on the writer.
Get real. You're the writer. Not just a writer... a screenwriter. It is your job to be understood... by anybody!
If you look at Shane Black scripts... the places where Shane Blackisms run rampant are places in which writing a screenplay pales in comparison to a movie. He makes sure that the reader sees his vision of the story -- in cinematic terms.
From LETHAL WEAPON:
Pats his jeans ... Realizes his wallet has flown free during the fracas.
Scoops to retrieve it from its resting place on the sand,
where it lies open, and as it lies open, yes, folks, that is a badge we see.
Riggs, we realize, is an officer of the law.
Shane Black is one of the most terse screenwriters around. And yet he does this... and it works.
I'd even go so far as to argue, Shane Blackisms are the parentheticals of description.