Author Topic: Screenwriting Style.  (Read 1404 times)

Mr. Blonde

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Screenwriting Style.
« on: May 07, 2013, 12:48:53 AM »
To me, this is one of the hardest things about writing. Because it's such a creative medium, people have wildly different expectations about how your scripts should be written. Simple things could be the biggest of turn-offs. I mean, script readers are busy people and they need to be reading as quickly as they can.

Do they have time for a proper grammatical sentence? Then again, maybe your --
SENTENCE
-- reacts in a terse manner. Few details. Quick read. Always on-the-ball. Others hate this. Incomplete sentences? Hard to read. Your brain likes regular sentences.

You're going to find those who prefer both; proper English sentences, while sacrificing white or the short, consistently hyphenated sentences that your brain refuses to properly process.

What about you guys? Which of the above do you prefer to write as? Or, rather, do you do a different style?
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Writer Arena

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Re: Screenwriting Style.
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2013, 08:01:22 AM »
In a screenplay I think prose should be blended.  There should be a variety.  This way your reader doesn't get bored.

However...

I think this largely has to do with STYLE and there's going to be lots of people that disagree with my assessment and think what you are describing above is their style.  And that's true.  It is their style - no matter what the reader might prefer.

Dave Troop

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Re: Screenwriting Style.
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2013, 08:07:51 AM »
@MR. B

I've written for MoviePoet for over a year, and their contests have a strict 5 page limit. 
So, my writing style is short and to the point.

We've all read scripts with too much description, and action that goes on for over four lines.
I will usually tell that author what I have been told. Keep it simple, don't write a novel.  And keep the action to four lines or less, or you will lose the pace or tempo you are trying to create for the reader.

As far as the description with the dashes --

MINI SLUG --

I'm seeing that style more and more.  I'm okay with it.

 




Daniel Botha

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Re: Screenwriting Style.
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2013, 03:49:40 PM »
Incomplete sentences? Hard to read. Your brain likes regular sentences.

I agree with that 100%. I can never really understand why any writer would choose to write in incomplete sentences, unless it adds the needed affect. However, constantly writing in incomplete sentences totally ruins the flow of the writing. I often find myself struggling through scripts written like this and I will almost always mention it in a review. I won't put the script down, as a result, but I know I won't enjoy it.

I do agree with keeping writing short and to the point. Just make sure your sentences follow the basic structure.

Dan

Mr. Blonde

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Re: Screenwriting Style.
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2013, 11:15:26 PM »
It's one of those things you come across. For example, I've entirely revamped my writing style for my newest feature; a comic book action/revenge piece, to the shorter, fast-paced style. Before that, I always wrote in complete sentences, but I also only wrote dramas. Very, very slow dramas. I think it kind of needs to adapt to the genre you're writing for, but what do I know? And, really, David? You've only been on MP for a little over a year? I swear it was longer.
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Dave Troop

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Re: Screenwriting Style.
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2013, 09:20:42 AM »
And, really, David? You've only been on MP for a little over a year? I swear it was longer.

You are correct, sir.

My joined date is August 2011. 
My first contest was September 2011.

I rounded down to make it seem more impressive.

Mr. Blonde

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Re: Screenwriting Style.
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2013, 09:28:16 AM »
Well, sir, then that's cheating. You're closer to two years than you are to one year. =)
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Daniel Botha

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Re: Screenwriting Style.
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2013, 11:49:07 AM »
Sean, I hope I haven't butchered your writing style. Send us a copy of "Andretta" when it's down. I'll be happy to give it a read.

Dan

Mr. Blonde

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Re: Screenwriting Style.
« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2013, 12:24:28 PM »
Oh, not at all. I'm butchering it perfectly fine without help. Joking aside, I got a lot of help from people and have something I think I can work with. Ironic thing, I entered it in the 2013 logline contest for MoviePoet, but it didn't move on. Still, I've decided to write it as if I had moved on. I had my 10 pages properly completed last Tuesday and I intend to have it looking beautiful by August 31st. I think the story's going to disappoint, though, and the writing (as I've already been told) is polarizing. Lol.
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Pia

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Re: Screenwriting Style.
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2013, 09:10:07 AM »
I used to be told my scripts were fast reads. To my knowledge, I have not changed my writing style, but I've recently been told I way overwrite... Phil said I should be able to shave 15 pages off my last 7WC script. I've read it several times and have written two more drafts and I could not find that many pages to trim.   :-/

Don't take me wrong, Phil and I are good friends. It just came as a surprise to me that I'm overwritten that much. Two other people said the same thing btw. 

Mr. Blonde

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Re: Screenwriting Style.
« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2013, 09:24:47 AM »
Pia, I think what Phil said about your overwriting is a bit extreme, but also accurate. I think you could trim 6-8 for sure. 10 would be pushing it, but certainly possible. If you want to discuss it or anything, I'm free to listen. =)
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Writer Arena

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Re: Screenwriting Style.
« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2013, 09:44:57 AM »
Pia, I don't think you overwrite.  I haven't read your 7WC script but other scripts I've read from you were fine.   And even if your 7WC script could benefit from trimming, first drafts always can benefit from trimming - or they should be able to because you want to write more than you need then cut it rather than write less and add it.   

Pia

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Re: Screenwriting Style.
« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2013, 11:23:44 AM »
It's just new for me. I've NEVER been told I overwrite before. Oh well...

Mr. Blonde

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Re: Screenwriting Style.
« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2013, 11:25:41 AM »
Trust me, Pia, it's a relatively fun club to be in. I've been told it all the time since I joined SS in '09. If anything, take it as a good thing because removing stuff once you're finished is a hell of a lot better than adding stuff once you're finished. =)
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Pia

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Re: Screenwriting Style.
« Reply #14 on: May 09, 2013, 11:41:02 AM »
No. I don't find it fun at all. And the script in question was only 85 pages to begin with. Actually, I'm moving away from online peer reviews. :-/