Questions tagged [screenwriting]

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

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3answers
5k views

Possible To Introduce A Character Through A Dialogue?

In a screenplay, would it be okay to introduce a character through a dialogue? The character in question isn't given a background (in the ACTION) in the start since his first appearance is one where ...
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1answer
76 views

How to write a time-lapsed style scene in a screenplay?

This is a brief example, but it gets the point across ... deep in thought Bathsheba shakes off her zoned thoughts by dipping her brush into the green paint and beginning on the canvas with her three ...
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1answer
111 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”. ...
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1answer
95 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 ...
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4answers
265 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 ...
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2answers
94 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 ...
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2answers
54 views

Are there any theaters that are receptive to manuscripts for monologues from the author/performer?

First, a caveat: I am only the author of the "play" in question in a sense of the word; since much of the monologue is drawn verbatim from the writings and speeches of Mark Twain, I am really just the ...
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7answers
2k 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 ...
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5answers
933 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
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1answer
91 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 ...
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2answers
633 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 ...
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1answer
76 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 ...
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3answers
68 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
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1answer
375 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 ...
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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).
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1answer
304 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
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1answer
126 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
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8answers
864 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 ...
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2answers
117 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
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4answers
263 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
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5answers
589 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 ...
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3answers
353 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 ...
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3answers
159 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, ...
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1answer
257 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 ...
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2answers
151 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 ...
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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, ...
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3answers
2k 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
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1answer
137 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 ...
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1answer
69 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. ...
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1answer
71 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
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4answers
323 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 ...
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2answers
140 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 ...
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5answers
220 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 ...
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1answer
153 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 ...
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2answers
4k 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 ...
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2answers
64 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.
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6answers
714 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?
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1answer
57 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'...
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1answer
31 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 ...
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2answers
73 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 ...
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2answers
750 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 ...
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3answers
303 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 (...
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1answer
36 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.
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2answers
3k 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?
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6answers
20k 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 ...
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2answers
242 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:...'
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1answer
695 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 ...
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3answers
316 views

Does a screenplay include dialogues between the characters?

Someone asked me to write screenplay and not the script, hence I want to clarify.
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1answer
151 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
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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 ...