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I was formatting my screenplay, and I wondered how to specify that the speaker changes who they are addressing. I figured it would simply be stated in a parenthetical:

                DUIRE
What? I'm not Dracula Why would
you say that? Do I look two-
thousand years old?
        (to Ornan)
Do I?

Is this the right way of proceeding? Also, is it common to specify the person addressed or is there some other usual way of doing so?

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2 Answers 2

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What you have seems to be the common way to do it: a slight indent and then "to addressee" in parentheses. There may be other details there too, like "(to camera, in French)". That's what I'm seeing for scripts on The Internet Movie Script Database (IMSDb).

Looking at Thor Ragnarok:

                   THOR
Sure.
    (to Loki:)
Start figuring out where he is.

In Joker:

                   SOPHIE
Jesus. Don't do that, GiGi! How many times have I told you that?
    (to Joker)
This building is so awful, isn't it?

I looked at a few more scripts beyond that, and none of them had anything more than minor variations on this (e.g. some had the text in parentheses was in all caps and centered, underneath the name of the character).

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This way I do it.

Mike turn toward John: "Do You think I am that stupid.?"

He raise a hand, to stop John from answer.

Mike then turns back to Ida: "Are You with John.?"

I do it this way, because I get lost in longer dialogues. This way I help the reader to know, who is speaking and to whom.

What I just wrote... in my new book

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  • Can you explain why you do it that way? Specifically, what advantages does your method have compared to the example OP provided?
    – F1Krazy
    Nov 24, 2021 at 14:06
  • I just write this way... And It helps me focus on the person that speaks. I sometimes gets lost in to long dialogues, so I need a little help. Nov 24, 2021 at 15:24
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    Is this a screenplay? It looks to me like a novel or short story or something else that's meant to be read by the audience directly.
    – Laurel
    Nov 24, 2021 at 15:44
  • No. I just wanted to give my way of doing it. But would You not also add a little direction to the actor.? It seems weird just to hope, they self can guess what they should do. Nov 24, 2021 at 17:23
  • Screenplays follow a very specific, very strict, very technical format. They aren't meant to be read casually, but rather are technical documents used by film crews to produce the actual finished story as a movie. The format used today has been honed over decades to make it very easy for everyone on set to quickly access the information they need to know. The peculiar way dialogue is notated is a very important part of that format. In particular, the format is designed so that each page reliably turns into about one minute of finished film, and the dialogue format helps that work out.
    – Kevin
    Dec 6, 2021 at 2:46

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