11 votes
Accepted

How to name indistinguishable henchmen in a screenplay?

If they have lines or specific actions, it's important to give them all names. Why? Because each one will be played by a different actor. Each actor needs to know where s/he is at any given time, ...
Cyn's user avatar
  • 32.4k
10 votes

Screenplay vs Novel

A screenplay is meant to be performed. A novel is meant to be read. (You can have an audio recording of a novel, but that's still someone reading it aloud, not a radio drama.) A screenplay has ...
Lauren-Clear-Monica-Ipsum's user avatar
10 votes

Should I explain the reasons for gaslighting?

Forget necessary - don't pass up the opportunity for a moment of drama and poignance as you reveal the cracks in your stoic character's facade. Because you have the scriptwriting tag, I'm less ...
Jedediah's user avatar
  • 8,659
9 votes

Why is the standard screenplay format just plain ASCII? Why don't use LaTeX or Word?

There are a number of reasons why plain text is still fairly common in a number of industries. Portability Standard ASCII text files can be opened and written to by a staggering number of computer ...
TheLuckless's user avatar
  • 1,361
8 votes
Accepted

How to write dates shown on screen

It’s not necessary in the body of a scene to inform us as to the setting, the time of day, or whether it’s an interior or exterior, as this is already known from the scene heading. If a legend, such ...
Chris Sunami's user avatar
  • 56.5k
8 votes

In a script how can I signal who's winning the argument?

I agree with @Ash's answer regarding the fact that you can show a lot with body language. I would disagree with him however regarding what "winning" and "losing" would look like. Being excessively ...
Galastel supports GoFundMonica's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

How should my script refer to a character who's currently disguised as another character?

While in the process of typing up the question, I had a brainwave - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt.2 does the same thing, during the scene in which Hermione uses Polyjuice Potion to disguise ...
F1Krazy's user avatar
  • 10.8k
7 votes

Screenplay vs Novel

Novel is the final product. Screenplay is only a recipe for the final product (I am really only rephrasing Lauren Ipsum's answer here). Novel's author has to deliver everything, with all the ...
Alexander's user avatar
  • 6,123
6 votes

Screenplay vs Novel

Screenplays are rather short story, when you think about it. A typical screenplay is 120 pages double-spaced, and 25% dialogue and 50% action. That is 30 pages of dialogue, but the margins (2.9, 2.3) ...
Amadeus's user avatar
  • 101k
6 votes
Accepted

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

A character that is off screen speaks from off screen. Voice over refers to a n̲a̲r̲r̲a̲t̲o̲r̲ who narrates the story (e.g. in a documentary, where the narrator never appears in the film).
Stupid Squirrel's user avatar
6 votes

Writing a phone call scene in a screenplay

No, do not use a new scene heading each time. Use INTERCUT, described at the link. Basically, a scene heading for each separate scene, then "intercut between X and Y [and Z and ...]. Then exposition ...
Amadeus's user avatar
  • 101k
6 votes

Should I explain the reasons for gaslighting?

Make each of the three, full well-rounded characters who have multiple interactions with not just each other but other people. And with distinct and believable personalities. Show how the two treat ...
Cyn's user avatar
  • 32.4k
5 votes
Accepted

How to write character's emotional reactions in a screenplay?

Just say it. I suggest reading this: What Visual Storytelling Looks Like In a Screenplay. And this companion article: 4 Examples of Good Visual Writing In a Movie Script. I'd recommend giving the ...
Amadeus's user avatar
  • 101k
5 votes
Accepted

Sample Script Submission

Typically, the advice for sample scripts is to write a sample for a close competitor of your target. It may sound counter-intuitive, but it shows that you can write in the immediate ballpark of what ...
Chris Sunami's user avatar
  • 56.5k
5 votes

Screenplay vs Novel

Screenplays are collaborative, whether you like it or not. Actors will say the lines. Directors will alter the tone. The photographer will create their own vision. And the producers will hire other ...
wetcircuit's user avatar
  • 27.2k
5 votes

In a script how can I signal who's winning the argument?

If I've understood this it is a screenplay featuring, at this point, three characters; the characters proposing opposing options and the third character they are trying to win over? That being the ...
Spagirl's user avatar
  • 903
5 votes

How to convert indirect thought to film voiceover without it sounding contrived?

The media of cinema and literature are different enough that it's almost impossible to convert one into the other - hence the term "adaptation". Many of the strengths of one medium are ...
somewhatsapient's user avatar
5 votes
Accepted

How to convert indirect thought to film voiceover without it sounding contrived?

It's very rare that a movie does what you're describing, as I cannot think of a single movie that does it. Each film uses the strengths of film to express internal dialogue, rather than explicitly ...
veryverde's user avatar
  • 1,108
4 votes

How to show a flashback in a screenplay?

According to http://www.storysense.com/format/flashbacks.htm, you should bookend it with "BEGIN FLASHBACK" and "END FLASHBACK" as action lines, and then treat it as any other new ...
Chris Sunami's user avatar
  • 56.5k
4 votes

How should I write this scene heading? Let me explain

It is just EXT. BRETT'S HOUSE - DAY You are over thinking it. It doesn't make a difference if he owns it, rents it, whatever. He lives there. Nobody gets confused. Who cares if he owns it or not? If ...
Amadeus's user avatar
  • 101k
4 votes

Screenwriting using codenames

Keep in mind, a script is a technical document intended to aid actors and the director in creating a play or a movie. It is not (directly) for the characters or the audience. The characters might ...
Chris Sunami's user avatar
  • 56.5k
4 votes
Accepted

How to format quick flashes in a screenplay?

I think you're correct in that there isn't necessarily a right or wrong way to do it, what matters is that someone reading it is able to follow it easily. The way I would perhaps treat them is to ...
Jon's user avatar
  • 56
4 votes

How do I indicate that the next scene actually happens at the same time as the previous scene

From the fact that you say "script", I assume you mean a play or a movie and not a novel. I'd avoid anything subtle. Some audience members will miss it and be confused. If there's any sort of ...
Jay's user avatar
  • 25.6k
4 votes

Should I explain the reasons for gaslighting?

I believe you have to explain it, somehow. There is nothing worse than an unexplained major action that determines the outcome of the story, especially when the outcome is sad. It seems arbitrary and ...
Amadeus's user avatar
  • 101k
4 votes
Accepted

How should I include the sentence that a character would've said if they weren't interrupted in a screenplay?

Write the lines in full. Indicate in the stage directions that they speak over each other and interrupt. As a scriptwriter: do not attempt to micromanage the performances of actors who do not yet ...
wetcircuit's user avatar
  • 27.2k
3 votes

How to write character's emotional reactions in a screenplay?

I would advise only adding the emotion if it's contrary to what may be expected. So Monster appears. BOB (scared) What's going on? Is less essential than: BOB's Mom appears, carrying a tray ...
April  Salutes Monica C.'s user avatar
3 votes

How to write character's emotional reactions in a screenplay?

E. A scared Bob walks over to the door, hand on the knob. or BOB (scared) Who are you? While I haven't written scripts, I have acted some on stage. Giving the actor the basic reaction ...
Cyn's user avatar
  • 32.4k
3 votes

Screenwriting using codenames

Pick one character name and stick with it. If you feel the slash name is necessary, use it consistently from the start.
wetcircuit's user avatar
  • 27.2k

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