Pete, thanks for the question about script formation, but let me address your first paragraph first. I am not particularly worried about the expression of intense affect in this format (it could even enliven what is presented here by adding some of the music that I worry is missing). I do not see negative affect as "pathological" in the way many systems do. Most of these systems, like Freud's, are based on a model that assumes that intense affect only occurs because something pathological has taken place, as in drive theory where negative affect is seen primarily as resulting from something pathological preventing the drive from taking its nature course.
In the affect theory system, each of the affects is triggered in a very specific way that is dependent upon how a stimulus acts upon the central nervous system. Thus, if we are interested in and enjoy the psychological system in which we believe (which has meaning for us), then an attack on that system or us will produce an impediment to our interest and enjoyment and trigger shame in us. In the affect theory system, we consider it unhealthy to ignore that shame and pretend that it did not happen. We, therefore, tend to respond when affect is triggered in us. In fact, the ability to be aware of and respond to affect in a timely, direct manner is one of the goals of our therapeutic system.
In this forum, Gil Levin has courageously established something that is not done very often. He has asked experts from rather different belief systems to comment upon their own work and the work of others in an open, direct way that is visible to literally thousands of people each week. This means that there will be disagreement and exposure. If that disagreement is really expressed openly, then some shame must be triggered. We see this as simply the way that humans are wired. The fact that some of the ways in which we will respond to this shame may not be perfectly "logical" is simply human. If we all think of this clincal case format as simply another vehicle for learning how the different systems respond, then it can be a lively, educational process rather than some boring rehash of our beliefs. Furthermore, I do not believe any of the experts here will perish (or change their belief system) because negative affect is exchanged.
Speaking of intense affect, it has a great deal to do with your question about scripts. Tomkins perceived that most stimulus-affect-response triads (which he called scenes) are not very important as millions of them occur every day and are not memorable. Some scenes, however, perhaps because they repeat over and over and/or have similarities and/or have greater intensity cause a magnification of the affect involved. This affect and the scenes that relate to it now must be managed--which is what scripts do. In the healthy situation, scripts manage affect such that positive affect can be maximized, negative affect minimized, and the inhibition of affect minimized and there is a plasticity to the scripts that permits freedom of action and change. In less healthy situations, more rigid scripts develop that are often poor compromises. In the case of Harold Payne, the script that prevented him from leaving his unhappy, unfulfilling relationship with his wife and marrying his loved girlfriend was a rigid one. (Don could comment better than I on the affects involved in its development.)
The short answer to the role of meaning in this system is that its origins are in affect (remember, in this theory we only become conscious of something when and because it triggers affect. Once established, meaning is a frequent, competent trigger for affect and further script formation. Furthermore, one could say that the more intense the affect in a given script, the greater its meaning.