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For example: A YOUNG MAN drifts into a bar. Something absent in his yes. His varsity jaket, dirty and torn. Blood still drips down his face from the accident. This is -- JAMES SMITH, 17, the boy next door, capitan of the football team, and one hell of a bad driver. ;)

I’ve seen this in various scripts and I have a few descriptions setup like this in my current script. But now I’m questioning if this is okay. Should I not ALL CAPS young man? Or not do this setup at all?

Thanks!

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You are making the mistake of describing things we cannot see. And your spelling will get you rejected by a reader immediately.

First,

JAMES SMITH, 17, walks slowly into a bar, with a vacant expression. He has been in a car accident, his varsity jacket is torn and bloody, blood drips down his face from a forehead cut.

Leave out the indirection (one hell of a bad driver), leave out any humorous asides like a smiley face, do not reference "the accident" if you have not shown an accident in the previous scene. The prose is not a conversation between you and the script reader, it is a description of what the viewer sees, period.

Be concrete and literal, it is filmable. "drifting" into a bar is poetic, but you can't film it unless he is a ghost or weightless in space. "Walking slowly" is something the actor can do, James is stunned. "He has been in a car accident" is something the makeup department knows how to do. The specifics of the torn jacket and blood are for them too, and indicate the severity of the accident.

  • Sorry if that was confusing, but that was just something I came up with off the top of my head as an example. The “one hell of a bad driver” was supposed to be funny - that’s why I put the winky face. – Marcus Meier Apr 6 '18 at 15:00

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