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Arguments in the background

Posted: Jul 26, 2013 1:50 pm
by Haidock
Hi forum,

This is my first proper attempt at screenwriting. In the opening scene, there are two muffled voices arguing, and then the main characters speak over the voices. I'm wondering how you would write this.

Would you write out the argument that the people are having? Or would you simply say [Name] and [Name] are arguing? And if the former, how would you write the characters speaking whilst the people are still arguing?

Confusing stuff! :?


Re: Arguments in the background

Posted: Jul 29, 2013 12:58 pm
by Chris Huntley
If what they say in the argument is unimportant, then you can mention that they're arguing in the scene description but not get into detail. If what they say IS important, then you may want to have them as speaking characters, at least with the parts that are important to be conveyed to the audience/reader. This can be done by interspersing the dialog within the foreground conversation. However, this can be confusing to read.

When possible, I'd recommend having the argument be described in the scene description even going so far as describing the subject matter, e.g. "John and Sam have a muffled argument in the background over who will pay the bill."