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formatting question from a newbie

Posted: Jan 10, 2012 9:28 pm
by Ghost978
I was wondering what the correct structure should look for an instance in which dialogue has an immediate impact on characters involved in the conversation. For example if Doc mentions a Corvette by name and then continues on for a few lines, where is it appropriate to write how the others respond?

Would it be right after the Corvette is mentioned, via parentheses in Doc's dialogue? Or do I let him finish and then note the response of the others? Sorry, I know this is convoluted but any help is most appreciated.

Re: formatting question from a newbie

Posted: Jan 11, 2012 10:06 pm
by Chris Huntley
Generally speaking, you indicate the reaction when you expect the audience to see the reaction. That said, only note the reaction if it is necessary to tell the story. If it is an obvious reaction, do not note it.

Why? Because your job as a writer is to tell the story. It is up to the director and actor to interpret your story.

Re: formatting question from a newbie

Posted: Jan 19, 2013 6:14 pm
by Robb6669
This is a great question because it is a part of a larger question which is as a writer how much exposition do you need to moving the story along, how much of it is in your head how you perceive what the character is doing. A screenwriter has to tell the story yes true but there are certain ways a character reacts that a screenwriter plays in his head. But the screenwriter has to give some room to the actors and director to create the character and give it life beyond the page.

That balance between moving the story forward and giving the actors and director license to create the world that the screenwriting has created. I usually read my work about three times and highlight all the areas where there is exposition and really see if I need the exposition does it move the story forward or does it more my image in my head forward? If it is the latter then I will take it out. This is because the image in my head does not move the story and it hinders the work that the actors need to do. Exposition that moves the story forward is only kind of exposition that you should have in your screenplay.

Re: formatting question from a newbie

Posted: Feb 13, 2013 1:38 pm
by Rumourd
I think you're confusing "exposition" -- which, in its pejorative form, is a lot of explanatory dialogue that lacks story momentum or character-building -- with description prose, i.e. describing reactions etc.

By the way, I had to read your paragraphs above a few times, before I could figure out what you were saying. It was unnecessarily verbose with poor grammar (incomplete sentences, no commas to break up thoughts, etc). You may want to worry about this first before you try your hand at screenwriting, because finding the balance you cite above, across 120 pages, is hard enough, without tripping up your reader with indecipherable prose.