Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 174 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange

Questions tagged [screenwriting]

Screenplay storytelling, writing, formatting, and how to put it all together.

9
votes
4answers
2k views

How do you make a scene “tasteful”?

Let's say you have a scene that contains nudity. There are many ways to do it wrong and have it just be a pervy scene, but there are also ways to make it "tasteful" in a way where it's slightly less ...
2
votes
3answers
121 views

I have no artistic skill, but I want to write for animated shows/movies

See title. I love writing stories, but I usually imagine how they are like in show/movie form, specifically 3d animated ones. I don't feel like I have the skill to write a good book, but I do think I ...
2
votes
2answers
83 views

How do I make a repetitive element in a play interesting?

I am writing a playscript these days which includes various characters that are frequently related throughout the story. They all hold special orbs/keys that help the main protagonist progress further ...
2
votes
3answers
80 views

Screenwriting using codenames

I'm currently writing a script where a woman is in a group that only uses codenames when with each other. I was wondering how I should address this in format. Her real name is known to the audience ...
2
votes
2answers
92 views

Class/Course Names in Fiction

sorry if this has already been asked. But how are course or class names written in fiction (both prose and screenplay)? For example, if someone has a second-level algebra course on their schedule, ...
1
vote
1answer
90 views

Introducing characters in a screenplay

In one of my scenes, I introduce "GUEST" at a party. Later, each guest is introduced by name. So if I capitalized GUESTS, do I have to capitalize their name later?
1
vote
1answer
74 views

Can the Final Draft 11 software handle foreign screenplay formats?

I am considering buying Final Draft 11. Of special interest to me is that this version can handle 95 foreign languages, including Japanese. My question is, can FD11 handle foreign (read: non-...
3
votes
1answer
65 views

How do I write transitions between thinking and speaking?

I've just downloaded an open-source script-writing program, and have started converting the scripts for an anime I've been writing into industry-standard formatting. There are a few points in the ...
7
votes
4answers
546 views

Respecting classic dramatic structure in a documentary

I'm planning on shooting a documentary on a potentially important shift in a friend's life. In an attempt to educate myself a little bit before shooting the events, I'm reading about the classic ...
5
votes
1answer
65 views

Example screenplays on the web

Wondering if there are any good "open source" screenplays available on the web, ones that provide a good introduction to screenplays and have lots of "features" of screenplay writing. I would like to ...
6
votes
2answers
89 views

How to pitch TV show with a 'hook' when have a complete bible and treatments?

So, I have a TV show I have been writing and will finish soon enough. I have been working on this for a long time, and have written 9 seasons. The type of show is a sitcom. It is based on my ...
4
votes
3answers
106 views

How to write an online screen name in dialogue?

Might be a bit nitpicky - but I really want to get the formatting correct - especially because this is one of the first lines in the script. The screen name is: ArgyleMan29 Like this? JACK: Online I’...
8
votes
2answers
62 views

Transitioning from novel writing to screenwriting?

I've been studying writing for several years, and I feel fairly confident in my ability to write a novel. Before I take the plunge and go for it though, I was curious about a slightly different path: ...
9
votes
3answers
635 views

Should I use a series of shots for this scene?

Should I use a series of shots for this? (context- Joe previously raged in his room - knocking things over) INT. JOE’S ROOM Joe stands up the nightstand. Plugs in the lamp. Takes the alarm clock, ...
3
votes
2answers
86 views

Dialogue from a distance

How do I indicate dialogue 'from a distance'? Two characters and riding down a field on a quad bike, one asks a question of the other, who answers. They're visible but you can't see their lips move. ...
4
votes
1answer
78 views

Do I need a star's permission to write a fiction TV series inspired but not exactly as his life?

I want to write a fiction TV series inspired by a true love story between a star and his fans except that I'm going to represent the fans as an actual female character and make it a romantic series. ...
4
votes
3answers
646 views

How are descriptions and character thoughts handled in a screenplay (versus a novel)

I wonder if you write descriptions in a screenplay the same way you write in a novel. For example, I see writers describe the physical effects of the emotion of anger rather than just saying 'angry', ...
3
votes
1answer
68 views

Leaving out names/pronouns to speed up the flow of a script?

Example: Jane digs in the flowerbed for her ring. Moves to the yard. I’ve seen this a bunch of times, but it still feels sort of wrong when I do it. I just want to know if this is “normal”. ...
1
vote
1answer
63 views

In a script - Is it ok to have a general description of a character “YOUNG MAN”, then the actual description?

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 ...
5
votes
4answers
240 views

How to describe a character with changing features?

I’m writing the pilot for a Crime/Mystery/Thriller. When we first meet the lead detective character - he is depressed about not being able to work. Not at his best, but that is about to change for ...
4
votes
2answers
73 views

What are the best methods to keep your ideas in order?

Usually my ideas come very suddenly and I don't have paper or pencil by hand so I forget them; also, I do not know how to order these ideas in physics since they are for a novel in process, there are ...
3
votes
7answers
1k views

Screenplay vs Novel [duplicate]

Now I know, that this question could be tagged too broad or opinion based, and that it might even be closed down. But I have been struggling over this for quite some time now and I want to get an ...
3
votes
2answers
230 views

Sorkin: “Dialog is music” - In what way(s)?

I recently watched Aaron Sorkin's Masterclass on screenwriting. One frustrating section of it (overall it's quite good, IMHO) is about dialog, and Sorkin says that dialog is important, it can't be ...
3
votes
1answer
64 views

Is there any screenplay which is widely considered by screenwriters to be perfectly written?

Is there one Screenplay that is an example of being perfectly written by the majority of screenwriters that they keep at the ready to refer to while writing their own works? I was hoping to learn of ...
4
votes
3answers
63 views

Can I split a long scene up by switching the camera from one arguing couple to a different couple?

If I have a long scene in a cafe with a couple arguing (comedy) can I split the scene up by changing the camera angle to a couple in another corner? It is technically the same scene, but it could be ...
3
votes
1answer
82 views

Are there any differences between writing a movie script and writing a tv series script?

Aside from the obvious difference of a movie script been one complete story and a tv series been a continuing story across several episodes. Is anyone aware of anything you would do differently before ...
4
votes
1answer
84 views

Is it okay to use “Off This—“ in a spec script?

I feel like it’s a great tool for transitioning scenes. Off the Sargent’s grimacing face— Off the dead cheerleader’s tramp stamp— But is this considered camera direction? Is this too specific for ...
3
votes
3answers
106 views

How to write dates shown on screen

I’m wanting to know how to enter dates that will be shown in text on the screen in a screenplay, I’ve see. Several ways to do it so I wanted clarification, thx for any help
2
votes
1answer
78 views

Recommendations for short film script

I would like to take a part in screenplay competition. The main goal is a script for a short film ( 8 - 10 minutes ). There are several questions about it. How long should script be? How many ...
3
votes
1answer
562 views

How to show a flashback in a screenplay?

I’ve searched the questions and couldn’t find this. I don’t quite understand how to notate/show a flashback in a screenplay. Not just the format, but also the actual text and tense. I don’t know if ...
2
votes
1answer
59 views

What’s the longest a screenplay can be at the midpoint?

65 pages? 70 pages??? I’ve got almost 80 and need to know how much I have to cut
1
vote
1answer
65 views

Is an unseen character in phone call (V.O.) or (O.S.)?

Is an unseen character in phone call (V.O.) or (O.S.)? I don’t understand if it’s considered a voice over or an offscreen
1
vote
2answers
88 views

I’m considering adding a flashback to my script. Are they so bad?

I know that some people say flashbacks are to be frowned upon. But I’m in a situation where I feel a flashback could maybe be more effective. It’s a crime/drama/mystery. Basically, Greg has gone ...
0
votes
1answer
61 views

Writing a phone call scene

I’m wondering if I’m writing a scene that is on a phone call with no voiceovers going back-and-forth between the speakers do I have to use a new scene heading every time
6
votes
4answers
153 views

Should I create a fictional college if students go missing in my script?

I’m writing a fictional drama/crime/mystery sceenplay. In my script, college kids go missing from a REAL University. I like the realism and academic profile of an actual University, but would this ...
2
votes
3answers
102 views

Is it okay to sum up unimportant dialogue in the description? Let me explain

Like many, I’m a huge fan of the HBO series True Detective. I was reading the script for the second episode and I noticed this: INT. STATE CID - NIGHT Hart and Cohle enter the squad room, ...
1
vote
1answer
171 views

How are intercut scenes done?

I want to do a tennis scene done wit. A few separate rally scenes and some talking, where the two guys informally discuss a lawsuit in one or two of them... Do I need a new scene heading each time? I ...
4
votes
5answers
221 views

How do I format dialogue for an AI chatbot in a screenplay?

In my script, there is an AI chatbot character - ANNIE - that real characters communicate with via text. ANNIE has animated reactions and has an artificial speaking voice. Would I write ANNIE’S ...
7
votes
3answers
226 views

How do I write someone reading a document?

I have a scene where my character sits down to read a court summons and I want the shots to show various parts of the document like his name, then his codefendants name, then the charge and then the ...
2
votes
2answers
104 views

Is this featured article wrong about passive voice?

http://reelauthors.com/mobile/screenplay-coverage/screenwriting-present-tense-and-active-voice.php I think the article above is incorrect in its examples of passive voice. If I’m correct, I find it a ...
1
vote
1answer
49 views

How should I write this scene heading? Let me explain

In my screenplay, I have a character that’s a 20 year old college student. He lives at home. His name is Brett. Another character pulls up to Brett’s house. Should the scene heading read: EXT. ...
1
vote
2answers
45 views

When writing non-linear, do I have to note time changes?

I’m writing a non linear drama and my question is: do I have to notate what will be seen literally in the film, like age differences and such because the film won’t require much if any scene cues like ...
4
votes
2answers
170 views

WYSIWYG-type editor for dialog?

I'm writing dialog for my game in a format kind of similar to screenwriting. I have dialog, mixed with a little "action", like this: John: Can you pass me the salt? Sally: Sure! ACTION: Sally ...
5
votes
3answers
150 views

How to describe a seemingly-random doodle/symbol, whose details are significant?

In my Crime/Mystery/Drama screenplay, there’s a seemingly random doodle at the bottom of a mysterious note. The random doodle looks like a three eyed stick man with a hat. It is drawn with only lines ...
5
votes
4answers
272 views

How do I introduce a room of 4 new characters?

Do I start by describing each character before they speak? Each one of these characters are important. One of them is the lead. So, their descriptions are going to be a little chunky. I’m just ...
1
vote
1answer
39 views

Action line questions in screenplay format

Is it EVER okay to say I’m the action line “a beat” Are parentheticals ONLY for the way the speaker talks Can you say: Bathsheba I love you (she pulls him to her) let’s just try
1
vote
2answers
108 views

How can I continue one scene after many scenes?

Take this example: scene 1: int. - day Bruce - Where am I? Wayne - In Gotham. (A bunch of scenes) Scene 11: int. - day Bruce - In Gotham, you say? How am I supposed to show that this scene is ...
4
votes
1answer
73 views

How firm is the 120 page limit on a screenplay?

How close to that do I need to get? I’m sitting around 132. It can be cut, I think, but 120 would be losing major content. Would something in the range of 125-127 be okay?
0
votes
1answer
56 views

Asking for help in pitching and writing a script

I have an idea for a story to write. As a matter of fact, I wrote the first few pages. I like to write the story as a movie script and hopefully sell it, and hopefully it becomes a movie. But I am not ...
4
votes
2answers
113 views

How to write long conversation of (whispers) when screenwriting?

If you have a conversation of whispering in a screenplay do you have to put: BATHSHEBA (whispers) Beneath each character’s name. I’ll add that the situation mandates whispering and could be ...