When writing a script where you have two (or more) people talking at the same time, how is that formatted? Side-by-side columns? Some other vertical grouping? Notes? Does it vary?
Examples would be most helpful.
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There are a number of variations that are recommended in various on-line screenwriting guides, including side-by-side or linearly but using a directive like 'during'
At Story Sense they say
When writing dialogue in two columns to indicate simultaneous speeches, the left margin of the first dialogue column must be inset slightly. It must not start in the same column as the action or description margin.
That is all the information they give (no examples).
Screenwriting.io just says that most screenwriting editing software will format it for you as side-by-side.
When two characters are talking at the same time, it is referred to as “dual dialogue,” and the two speakers’ text blocks go side-by-side.
Most screenwriting programs have an option for this.
Again no examples.
At Screenwriting Goldmine, they suggest using 'during this' as a directive to the following dialog to say that it should be spoken simultaneously.
Lazy Bee Scripts says to use 'at the same time' and gives an example:
Eric: (At the same time as Jane.) Come on, Jane, you've known for weeks that he was coming, there's no point in making a fuss, just relax and let's hear what he has to say.
Jane: (At the same time as Eric.) He can't come in. Not with you here, Fred. You've got to do something. Anything! Get in the cupboard!
None of these looks like a satisfying explanation to me.
I've seen this done either as a directive in the dialog, or as an action description beforehand. It's such a rare case though, that I'd be surprised if there was a clear standard for it. I haven't seen the side by side column thing out in the wild, but I'd wager the meaning would also be pretty clear if I did.
So, I've seen:
AMY Look, you really can't bring my mom into this, it's not fair. She's never really said anything bad about you, you really have to... JOHN (simultaneously) And your mom's is better? Let me tell you, this is a hundred year old family recipe and I'll be damned if you're going to feed that crap to Jack... JACK drops his toy audibly in the doorway.
AMY and JOHN begin yelling at each other simultaneously AMY Look, you really can't bring my mom into this, it's not fair she's never really said anything bad about you, you really have to... JOHN And your mom's is better? Let me tell you, this is a hundred year old family recipe and I'll be damned if you're going to feed that crap to Jack... JACK drops his toy audibly in the doorway.
... both of which were self evident to me when I read them.
4 years late, but if anyone stumbles across this like I did (in 2020) looking for answers, I have one!
I asked my lecturer who has worked in the industry and he advised to format like the following:
JOE / SAM / MARK
And you have the option to add the parenthetical (in unison) as well if you want, so:
EMILY / KATE / RYAN
Hopefully this might help anyone who stumbles across this like me! Hope OP found their answer!