Questions tagged [screenwriting]

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

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8
votes
5answers
833 views

Shots in a spec script?

I'm writing a feature-length movie screenplay - well it's still at the story stage, so I haven't started to write the screenplay itself yet. I have been reading wordplayer and a few scripts to see the ...
4
votes
1answer
90 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
2answers
583 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
74 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
67 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
357 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 ...
10
votes
5answers
5k views

What is the process for turning a story into a “movie” script?

This is probably a slightly vague sounding question, but I'm curious as to how "stories" go to the point of becoming a film production (at least to the point of becoming a script).
2
votes
1answer
230 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
120 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
7
votes
8answers
686 views

I'm unable to figure out the logical solution to a problem; how do I keep writing?

I'm outlining the plot for a scifi screenplay. I have the main characters, premise, the first half of the story, and the climax thought out. I don't want to bore you with details, but the story ...
1
vote
2answers
111 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
219 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
476 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
345 views

Do script readers start at the beginning?

Script readers-- the people who sift and sort the vast piles of scripts submitted to Hollywood -- do they start at the beginning? The reason I ask is that I know 99% of scripts are awful and just get ...
2
votes
3answers
144 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
254 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
146 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

Character names/nicknames in screenplay format

I've written a screenplay and as I sharpen it/enter it into Final Draft I've come across some confusion related to character names. My main character is named Bathsheba and throughout the story, ...
6
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
136 views

I want to use something like V.O. or O.S to indicate my character is in a shadow, what should I do?

I want to use something like V.O. or O.S to indicate my character is in a shadow, what should I do? I like what the Wachowskis did in the Matrix, which is a major influence for me. Would readers throw ...
1
vote
1answer
67 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
1answer
68 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
5
votes
4answers
310 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
2answers
122 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 ...
1
vote
5answers
215 views

How can a screenplay writer learn to write a novel?

I am the sort of person that is really great at coming up with amazing ideas, plot-lines, worlds, etc. for stories, but I'm not so good at putting them to paper - at least not in a novel. I'm really ...
0
votes
1answer
96 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

How to present asides in play writing?

I'm not sure whether this is the stackexchange website for this, but I'm in the process of writing a play for a competition. The main character often has asides (where she expresses an idea or thought ...
1
vote
2answers
60 views

How do you format a screenplay?

How do you format a screenplay? If you can refer me to a good book/website on formatting a screenplay, great. Thanks.
3
votes
6answers
678 views

Are there any free programs for screen writers

Screenwriting has a very strict format that Microsoft Word cannot fully match. Are there any good screenwriting word processors out there that are free?
1
vote
1answer
54 views

In my screenplay(spec, I believe) can I use “we see…” in action line?

I'm not sure if this is okay, (also: we hear...) I realize that typically the sentence would say the same thing if removed but it seems to work in the midst of an action line like: Close on Bathsheba'...
0
votes
1answer
30 views

2 questions about screenplays

In the slug line, how do I write a time change??? "7 years later" {then} INT. HOSPITAL - DAY Also: how do I write verbal sounds of a character that are unintelligible, etc, be they in the ...
0
votes
2answers
59 views

When/why are action lines broken up into different entries?

I'm speaking of more than one action line with no other text between them. I guess I'm asking if this is done because they relate to very different actions or actions of different people, etc. please ...
1
vote
2answers
642 views

Need clarification on use of M-dash and ellipsis in screenplay, I've seen numerous conflicting sources on this

I will try to explain the general idea I've gotten from the most trusted source in my opinion. PLZ EXCUSE MY CRUDE INSULT TO SCREENPLAY FORMAT, I DON'T KNOW HOW TO TRANSFER THE REAL THING INTO THIS ...
6
votes
3answers
300 views

Should “plot” or storyline be the main determinant of what goes into a story?

In writing a screenplay, I created a bunch of scenes, with about twice as much material in total as I needed. So the job was to cut things down to size. In so doing, I found that a number of scenes (...
1
vote
1answer
34 views

Recommend where to get screenplay edited? [closed]

I assume this is the next step in the process when I get through with this 3rd draft in format. Online or in person.
1
vote
2answers
2k views

In a screenplay do use periods in action line/dialogue?

Regardless of complete sentence do I use periods in action line or dialogue? It seems understood using ? And ! But when writing what may be a sentence fragment do I use periods?
6
votes
6answers
18k views

Should you specify camera action in a film script?

Some scripts I read specify the exact camera angle of every shot-- where the camera starts, what we see, how it will move during the scene. And some scripts are a little less specific. Is this only ...
1
vote
2answers
177 views

Writing the role of the actor in a movie/play

When writing a script / screen play would you write it as 'Vin Diesel says:...' or as the character i.e. 'John Smith says:...'
1
vote
1answer
538 views

In a screenplay/script format, how do you handle several people saying hello or goodbye to each other?

In formatting a script/screenplay. How do you handle greetings and goodbyes when there are several people? I can think of a few ways to handle it and don't like any of them. I was wondering which is ...
1
vote
3answers
241 views

Does a screenplay include dialogues between the characters?

Someone asked me to write screenplay and not the script, hence I want to clarify.
1
vote
1answer
141 views

How to describe complex shots in spec script?

I know we must be lean with these, to keep scenes legible and flowing, but I absolutely have/need to describe certain (quite complex) shots in my script! For example... How can I describe this scene, ...
4
votes
1answer
108 views

How to chop up long scenes?

I have written stage drama stuff before. I am sending in comedy scripts to the BBC as part of a competition. I am wondering about cutting a scene down. I remember Stepto and Son where the scenes would ...
8
votes
13answers
6k views

How do I represent two computers having a conversation between themselves that other characters are unaware of?

I have two computers who are talking to each other in a movie script. They do not want the humans to be aware of this but my ideas to address it don't seem to work. HELP! Here's what I have tried so ...
-2
votes
2answers
134 views

Children and their parents [closed]

For those from the USA, any idea at which age children switch from calling their parents, mommy, and daddy to mom and dad. I know there is no specific year-age, but at least some sort of age like 6-8, ...
3
votes
3answers
3k views

Can I have camera directions in a script?

I plan on becoming a writer/director and I'm wondering if it is okay to have camera directions in my scripts.
6
votes
1answer
11k views

Is there an accepted format for comedy sketch writing?

I have been doing Google searches for examples or teleplays to download that may offer insight for sketch comedy writing. Is there a specific format that those in the industry follow or is simply the ...
3
votes
3answers
178 views

“just telling the tale” - does this work?

I know (I think) many stories that have a point they want to present to the audience. However, I wanted to focus on the excitement of the adventure first. The result always seems to devolve into a ...
3
votes
4answers
861 views

Screenwriting courses online - Worth the money or not?

I'm looking into taking a screenwriting course online, either from UCLA or NYU or NYFA... If anyone has taken any of these, please answer the following: Are these online course certificates actually ...
-1
votes
3answers
272 views

Getting past a dead end

I've been working on a screenplay for a while now. But I seem to have reached quite the dead end. My question is, what do you guys do, to get past a sticking point. Especially when you don't want to ...
3
votes
4answers
213 views

How Much Descriptive Information Is Enough For a Locale In A Screenplay?

First out, my question pertains strictly to screenplays. Secondly, it deals with a spec script. Now, there seems to be surprisingly scant information on the internet in regard to how far you should go ...