Parenthetical Direction Question

So now you have an outline. Where do you go from here? Discuss getting past FADE IN:.

Parenthetical Direction Question

Postby HazyRose » Sep 21, 2014 7:09 am

Hi, guys, I really need some help :)

Does any of you know, if a character speaks at the very same time they do an action (for an example, someone smiles as they say something, or starts a car while talking etc.), whether the direction that refers to the action they do should be parenthetical or written as a separated action instruction? If the second option is the one customarily used, is it usual to add 'as they say the next/the last line' next to the instruction?

I've really looked for the answer among all the screenplay format guides and advice I could find online and yet haven't found the answer, so I'd really be EXTREMELY THANKFUL to the one who helps me solve the problem :) :) thank you all so much :) ;)

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Re: Parenthetical Direction Question

Postby Chris Huntley » Sep 21, 2014 7:51 pm

Here is a post by Dr. Format that addresses your questions.



Is the following example correct?

Code: Select all

             (grabs Jill by the
       Could sure use some water,
       my dear.
             (a beat; starts up
              the hill)

              (snatches the bucket
               out of his hand)
      Sounds like a good idea, Jack.
              (swings bucket around
               and around as they near
               the well)


Action should be written as action, unless that action can be described in just a few words (tipping his hat). Also, do not end a dialogue block with a parenthetical; end it with dialogue. Finally, the dialogue in the example above is stiff; let's make it more natural. At the same time, we'll try to give the scene a little more movement. Here is my revision:

Code: Select all

Jack shows Jill his empty bucket.


Jill snatches the bucket.

         Race ya.

She swings the bucket around as they gallop to the well.

If you would like to read more articles from Dr. Format, you may find them here:
Chris Huntley
Write Brothers Inc.


Re: Parenthetical Direction Question

Postby HazyRose » Sep 25, 2014 5:44 am

Thank you so much :)

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