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I'm writing a script for a school project and I forgot when you can have the same character's lines right after another. For example:

Bob: Hey joe, how are you?
Joe: I'm good.
Joe: I could be better.

I know this is incorrect, but would you put some stage direction or something in between both of the lines to make them have two lines after another?

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  • Why not write them one directly after the other?
    – Laurel
    Mar 22 at 18:10
  • @Laurel Because in a play or movie script all speeches of one character are given without linebreaks if there is no action to interrupt them. It is up to the director how he or she wants to pace the speech: with pauses, interrupted by action, or as a long monologue.
    – Ben
    Mar 22 at 18:22

2 Answers 2

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The way I've always seen it formatted would be...

BOB: Hey Joe, how are you?
JOE: I'm good. (Pauses.) I could be better.

Character tags in capitals; actions in brackets and italics; lines in regular font; no line breaks in one character's speech (this last one doesn't apply if the play is in verse).

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  • I learned that: (1) Scripts are always in monospaced, regular font and do not contain italics. They always look like they were typewritten. (2) Action is described outside the dialogue on separate lines. Parentheticals are for description of voice: "(angry)", or small actions: "(draws on cigarette)". "(pauses)" is a good example for a parenthetical action, though notice the lowercase letter at the beginning of the word and the lack of punctuation. So, a script would look like this: I'm good. (pauses) I could be better. —— But +1 for (pauses).
    – Ben
    Mar 22 at 23:00
  • @Ben In my experience they don't look like they were produced on a typewriter unless they actually were. Publishing houses would use the very same proportional font as for other works, italics included, since way before the spread of typewriters. The reason why in the mid to late-ish 20th century, publications for relatively narrow audiences were so often offset directly from the typewritten manuscript at the expense of finer typesetting was simply the costs. (Apart from theatre plays, another example would be university textbooks, with any specialised characters written in by hand.)
    – Divizna
    Mar 23 at 1:48
  • Are we talking about published theater plays or about movie scripts as they are used in the industry? The standard format for an industry movie script is 12 pt Courier, which is a monospaced font. Here is a formatting guide from one of the more popular screenwriting software: blog.celtx.com/how-to-format-a-script Parentheticals aren't in italics.
    – Ben
    Mar 23 at 7:36
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1

It is up to the director of the play or film how they are going to enact this scene. Whether the character will pause between the two sentences or speak them one after another is usually something the writer will prescribe.

Therefore, if you, as the writer, do not want something specific to happen between the two sentences, write them like this:

Bob: Hey Joe, how are you?
Joe: I'm good. I could be better.

A full stop is a pause, after all.

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If you want something to happen between the two sentences, this is how you would format that in a movie script:

                BOB
        Hey Joe, how are you?

                JOE
        I'm good.

    Joe walks over to the window.

                JOE
        I could be better.

The indentations will be different for a stageplay, but the principle remains the same.

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