View Full Version : Format Question
07-25-2005, 03:25 PM
What is the correct way to stress/emphasize a particular word in dialogue? Italics, bold, underline???
Thanks for your time.
Deus Ex Machine
07-25-2005, 03:58 PM
I don't like to use bold or Italics.
07-25-2005, 04:48 PM
It's all up to personal preference. I use italics when a word needs to be stressed in order for the intention of the line to make sense, and I might occasionally capitalize words that are shouted within a sentence... but the key is just not to do any of those things too much. You don't want to tell the actor how to do his/her job.
07-25-2005, 05:36 PM
I like the old-school practice of underlining the few words that need to be emphasized in dialogue, but it seems more common in action grafs to capitalize a word for emphasis, as in "Bob suddenly RIPS A FIVE-SECOND FART!"
Or, you know, whatever.
07-25-2005, 09:59 PM
My trend was I was instructed to underline for emphasis, and only rarely in the case of the dialogue not being mis-understood otherwise.
Same here. My understanding is that underlining survives better than italics over the course of repeated photocopying.
Captalizing dialogue for emphasis does seem to be popular these days. I don't do it because I want to reserve captitalization in the action lines to tip off props, the UPM and AD's that they will need to get hold of something special.
As for capitalizing dialogue, the actors and director will figure out where they need to shout and why.
07-25-2005, 10:33 PM
Either your writing has the emotional intensity it needs or it doesn't. Playing games with the font or underlining won't help you.
Besides, if the piece is sold and, by some miracle, it goes to production the actor will read the line however they want. Regardless of what lines you underlined, bolded, or put in italics.
07-26-2005, 01:28 AM
Be careful you DON'T over do it. Lately THERE seems to be a TREND in which many words IN screenplays are in CAPS, almost at RANDOM. The practice is rather DISTRACTING to the READ if you ask me.
07-26-2005, 01:30 PM
Underline. If your dialogue has emotional intensity, you'll need to emphasize a word occasionally, so the line isn't misread. Forget actors--all you care about is the reader.
07-26-2005, 01:35 PM
In general you can get by just fine without italics, underlining, or caps.
But we all know that there are those certain times when you just cannot resist the urge to emphasize a word. In such instances, in Dialogue, I recommend underlining. I would prefer italics, but you know we pretend that we are still writing on typewriters, don't you? Heh. :)
In Action, I recommend capitalization, if you really must do something. But, frankly, Action is where you really do not need emphasis at all. (I am not talking about first appearances of characters or sound effects here.)
Now, having said that, let me add preemptively that I realize that some people write Action with a particular style that uses capitalized words:
Frank takes a swing with the bat and
The ball sails over the fence.
However, that is a matter of a particular style; it is not really a question of emphasis alone.
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