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View Full Version : Coverage: Some of my scenes are "heavy-handed"?????


Ben
03-02-2009, 01:31 PM
Hi all,

I was reviewing some pro coverage I got within the last 2 years.
and I noticed a word that was repeated often by
the Coverage Prodivers.
The word is "heavy-handed".
For example, one guy said that a scene in my script was "heavy-handed".
What does "heavy-handed" mean in terms of story sense?

Thank you.

WildChild
03-02-2009, 01:35 PM
Hi all,

I was reviewing some pro coverage I got within the last 2 years.
and I noticed a word that was repeated often by
the Coverage Prodivers.
The word is "heavy-handed".
For example, one guy said that a scene in my script was "heavy-handed".
What does "heavy-handed" mean in terms of story sense?

Thank you.


Can you give us some more context - some sentences or a paragraph where they repeat this?

article92
03-02-2009, 01:39 PM
Little subtly, obvious, forceful and I think in some cases it might be used to describe scripts that feel preachy.

Ben
03-02-2009, 01:40 PM
They just said the scene feels "heavy-handed".
They did not elaborate or give examples.

article92
03-02-2009, 01:43 PM
It's like when I worked in a shop and a fellow tech would always strip screws, because he had a heavy hand. Meant he always forced the screwdriver. Is the scene the reader referred to forced?

jillybob
03-02-2009, 02:29 PM
"Heavy-handed," as a general term -- writing or otherwise -- usually either means elements are overdone, or the overall work is clumsy.

If the writing is heavy-handed, the scene doesn't feel subtle or organic. It feels like the elements are placed there because they need to be there to move the story along, not because there's any kind of flow.

Usually, it's because the dialogue is too on-the-nose, or because the character's actions seem to reflect not the character but simply the fact that the writer needed that character to do that thing in that scene.

So essentially, it's the difference between watching a movie in which real people behave in a genuine and interesting way, and watching something in which someone's moving action figures around and speaking for them with lines like, "You killed my father! I'm going to shoot you now."

Not saying that your scenes are at the latter level, of course; I'm just using extreme imagery to illustrate the point. Hope it's helpful.

NoNeckJoe
03-02-2009, 02:47 PM
"You killed my father! I'm going to shoot you now."


:rolling:

Good one, Jill. And good explanation.


And Ben, if all your posts were as reasonable as this one, you might have a few more internet friends. :)

Gillyflower Cooms
03-02-2009, 02:55 PM
given the heavy-handed nature of your posts...I'm not surprised.

EJ Pennypacker
03-02-2009, 03:21 PM
given the heavy-handed nature of your posts...I'm not surprised.

lol.

EJ

Ben
03-02-2009, 03:48 PM
Thanks all, and thank you Jillybob.....

But....

Let's take the movie Scarface with "Al Pacino" or some of the scenes in "Goodfellas" -- would you
say some of the scenes are heavy-handed?

There are some screenwriters/directors who have mastered the art of
OTN dialogues. And these OTN dialouges come across with vivid attitude when directed properly...

And last question -- the dialogues in The Sopranos -- are they heavy-handed?

And rap lyrics -- are they "heavy-handed"?

And dialogues in Video games -- are they too "heavy-handed"?

Is there room for "heavy-handed" scenes in this world?

How about true Mafia Guys and Crime Bosses and Thugs -- do they speak "heavy-handedly"?


Why can't we get along?

Respecfully,

Any thoughts...

odriftwood
03-02-2009, 03:51 PM
"You killed my father! I'm going to shoot you now."

Yes, heavy-handed... unless you're in PRINCESS BRIDE.

Ben
03-02-2009, 04:20 PM
Ich didicate diese Versetzung dem größten Master von glitschigem OTN und 'unbeholfenem' dialouges. Gehen Sie voran beleidigen mich, ich sorge mich nicht. Ich tue nicht Hälfte die Beleidigungen irgendwie.
Herr Tarantino ist am kühlsten.
Ich denke in der Welt es gibt Zimmer für die Ölfläche OTN diagloues.
Warum die Kritiker wie Tarantino wie Todesbeweis tat oder Bill 2 Tötete und bald Bill 3 Tötete.

Mac H.
03-02-2009, 04:25 PM
Why don't you post one of your scenes so people can compare?

Mac

Ben
03-02-2009, 04:34 PM
So I can be tied to a tank and dragged down 'THE STREET WITH NO NAME' and then forced to sing the song by SLAYER -- 'WIND OF CHANGE'.

Okay, Mac. H -- I'll think about it -- posting some samples.

But this DD (post samples) -- is deadly at times.

mtoomey
03-02-2009, 04:41 PM
Isn't Wind of Change by the Scorpions, not Slayer? sorry, I know my 80's c*ck rock.

So I can be tied to a tank and dragged down 'THE STREET WITH NO NAME' and then forced to sing the song by SLAYER -- 'WIND OF CHANGE'.

Okay, Mac. H -- I'll think about it -- posting some samples.

But this DD (post samples) -- is deadly at times.

jillybob
03-02-2009, 04:49 PM
Thanks all, and thank you Jillybob.....

But....

Let's take the movie Scarface with "Al Pacino" or some of the scenes in "Goodfellas" -- would you
say some of the scenes are heavy-handed?

There are some screenwriters/directors who have mastered the art of
OTN dialogues. And these OTN dialouges come across with vivid attitude when directed properly...

And last question -- the dialogues in The Sopranos -- are they heavy-handed?

And rap lyrics -- are they "heavy-handed"?

And dialogues in Video games -- are they too "heavy-handed"?

Is there room for "heavy-handed" scenes in this world?

Why can't we get along?

Respecfully,

Any thoughts...

First of all, however classic you might consider Scarface to be, I don't think a 26 year old movie (which is a remake of a 57 year old movie) is necessarily the best reference point for writing something that will get you sold know.

Secondly, video games are not movies. Their dialogue has different standards and different purposes. Unless you're writing a video game, what dialogue is like in other video games is irrelevant.

Rap songs are also not movies. And you can't lump all rap lyrics together any more than you can lump all rock lyrics together or all country lyrics together. Some rap lyrics are heavy-handed, and some are subtle and poetic. Some are incredibly violent, but have tons of subtext.

I wouldn't say the dialogue in The Sopranos was heavy-handed, no. "Heavy-handed" doesn't mean profane or aggressive or anything like that. Characters can be upfront, pull no punches, and say what they mean without the dialogue being heavy-handed. The dialogue on The Sopranos was funny, brutal, and often loaded with subtext. If you're using that as an example of heavy-handed-ness, I don't think you've quite understood the term, or what about your writing is being criticized.

I look at all your examples, and I'm wondering if you think that "heavy-handed" means "violent," or "extreme." But those qualities are only heavy-handed if there's nothing behind them -- no character, no history, no subtext.

Heavy-handed scenes and dialogue are being wedged into place to serve the purpose of the writer. They're not genuine; they don't ring true. Most importantly, they're probably not entertaining, because if a scene is entertaining enough, nobody cares if it's subtle. So if multiple people find the work heavy-handed, it means that the writing is drawing attention to itself in a negative way.

You can bring forward examples of things you think might be classified as heavy-handed but commercially successful, but it's irrelevant. 'Cause you're not selling those things; you're selling your scripts. And your scripts are getting the same negative note. Which means, either you need to do some rewriting, or -- if you really believe heavy-handed-ness to be a style choice that can indeed be commercial -- then you have to send your work to people who appreciate that sort of thing, and see if THEY think you're hitting the mark.

And has my computer finally lost its mind, or is there a white-texted Tarantino tribute in German a few posts back? And, FYI, Tarantino is violent and theatrical and over-the-top, yes, but heavy-handed, not so much. (IMHO, of course.)

Ben
03-02-2009, 04:54 PM
Jillybob

Thanks.

You're fair and tough in your comment.
Dig your insight -- "And has my computer finally lost its mind, or is there a white-texted Tarantino tribute in German a few posts back? And, FYI, Tarantino is violent and theatrical and over-the-top, yes, but heavy-handed, not so much. (IMHO, of course.)"

You got the screenwriting mojo and style and "A plus plus" skills.

Thanks for your timely info.

Respect,

Cheers