Retroscripting is a term for two techniques used in movie and television programs.

Plot outline

A retroscripted script contains a plot outline and leaves dialogue deliberately vague for interpretation by the actors through improv. Retroscripting can add strong realism and characterization to dialogue, and is regularly employed in the Unscripted TV genre. Contemporary examples of television shows using this technique are "Home Movies", "10 Items or Less", "Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist", "Aqua Teen Hunger Force", "Curb Your Enthusiasm", "Family Guy", "Trailer Park Boys", "Reno 911!", "Summer Heights High" and "Outsider's Inn" as well as films by Christopher Guest. Some other films that may have contained retroscripted segments are "Friday Night Lights", "Black And White", and some of the films of Robert Altman, who was known as an actor's director and referred to a screenplay as merely a "blueprint" for the action.


Retroscripting can also refer to the practice of recording new or unscripted dialogue over a live-action or animated program. It may be done for a number of reasons:
*To capitalize on a late-breaking news story or scandal and make the episode current,
*To censor potentially troublesome or possibly insensitive dialogue. An episode of "Desperate Housewives" suffered this fate following the passing of the Pope. A line was redubbed from "You have to hand it to the Catholics. They know how to do grief better than anyone," to "You have to hand it to Gabby and Carlos. They know how to do grief better than anyone."
*If an actor has repeated trouble with a line or word. In an episode of "", according to William Shatner, his fellow actor DeForest Kelley had trouble pronouncing an alien creature's name. The creature's name was "Gumato", but Kelley kept saying "Mugato". The monster eventually became officially known as the Mugato.

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