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Old 05-26-2018, 08:42 PM   #101
JoeNYC
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Default Re: How important is voice in screenwriting?

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Originally Posted by JeffLowell View Post
Where? When? In what context?
You said it in a “we see” thread called: “what’s wrong with ‘we see’”

Post by Jeff Lowell dated 8/29/03 at 9:42 pm:

“The reason pros don’t really fret about whether or not there’s a ‘we see’ in their scripts is that we know a secret.

Producers, executives and actors don’t read stage directions. They call it ‘the black stuff between the dialogue,’ and they could give two sh!ts about it. They scan right over it. Come to think of it, writers do the same thing when they get a script they’re going to be rewriting. Who has the time?"
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Old 05-27-2018, 01:39 AM   #102
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Default Re: How important is voice in screenwriting?

Say it ain't so, Jeff.

If nobody gives two shits about the writing in the action/description, in other words the narrative, why are we even concerned with this thing called writers voice?
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Old 05-27-2018, 03:33 AM   #103
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Default Re: How important is voice in screenwriting?

The internet never forgets.
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Old 05-27-2018, 05:38 AM   #104
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Default Re: How important is voice in screenwriting?

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Jeff Lowell once said, “The industry calls action/description the black stuff between the dialogue.”
Hmm ... No, I didn't think that sounded like Jeff.

As for Fundamentals of Good Writing by Cleanth Brooks and Robert Penn Warren ... My thanks to TigerFang for bringing it up and to StoryWriter for providing the internet link. I downloaded it (ebook) and took a quick look at it just now. I will definitely put it onto my Samsung tablet for further reading.

I was not aware of Fundamentals, but I was familiar with a similar work by Brooks and Warren, Modern Rhetoric, that came out at the same time (1949/50). Modern Rhetoric was still in use as the textbook for the second half of freshman English when I went to college. I did not realize until many years later just how great a book it was. When I was a college freshman, I knew that I was a good writer, and I was much more interested in checking out the girls in the class than in pouring over discussions of narration and exposition. So I really did not study the book. I wish I had, but I was arrogant. I knew that I could perform well without digesting all the issues in the book, so I did not study. However, the book contained a lot of things that would have helped me. It was years before I learned them, mostly by figuring them out on my own. I still have a copy of the textbook. Fundamentals looks promising, too.
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Old 05-27-2018, 09:53 AM   #105
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Default Re: How important is voice in screenwriting?

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I’ve read a few pages of the book TigerFang posted, “Fundamentals of Good writing,” and the authors articulated well on some of the things that other books stress about the description elements, such as, write with all the senses in mind and not just sight, write vividly by using strong nouns, verbs and adverbs, the weaknesses of adjectives, etc. The one thing to keep in mind about this book is that it’s geared toward the writing of Novels.
It's my belief that the principles of good writing may be applied to any of its disciplines, to include even screenwriting. However, I would eschew novel-style writing in a screenplay as overwrought, just as I might eschew screenplay-style writing in a novel as underwrought. Each is a different animal, but each strives toward the intent to satisfy the reader with a story well told. How that occurs by execution is what the book seeks to teach. My suggestion was meant to be to take from Fundamentals of Good Writing its underlying principles for writing in general.

Last edited by TigerFang : 05-27-2018 at 10:08 AM.
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Old 05-27-2018, 10:17 AM   #106
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Default Re: How important is voice in screenwriting?

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My suggestion was meant to be to take from Fundamentals of Good Writing its underlying principles for writing in general.
Yes, I agree.
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Old 05-27-2018, 10:17 AM   #107
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Default Re: How important is voice in screenwriting?

I'd love a link to the thread, because I can't find it. (It also pre-dates my joining here by a couple of years, but maybe I had an older account?)

But assuming I did write that... I like it that I said it was okay to use "we see" fifteen years ago, but I hope people will allow some growth on my views on why in the last decade and a half.

Again, I'd love the context. I've been a fan of using stage direction to show personality since before I broke in. I remember reading a produced sitcom script by Russ Woody where he stuck a joke in a stage direction... It was a revelation. There was ZERO reason to do it except to entertain the reader, and I loved it. It felt so freeing knowing that that was "allowed."

(Also, like everyone else, I'd read "Lethal Weapon" and knew how effective asides could be.)

So again, if anyone has been laboring under a false impression that stage directions don't matter because of something I said fifteen years ago, I apologize wholeheartedly.
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Old 05-27-2018, 12:51 PM   #108
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Default Re: How important is voice in screenwriting?

Jeff says, “I’d love a link to the thread…”

It took me hours to find that. I am not going to spend more hours searching for it again. The thread contained a total of six pages.

Jeff says, “(It pre-dates my joining here by a couple of years, but maybe I had an older account?)”

Yes, you did. Done Deal upgraded in 2005 where all previous accounts had to be redone. In the 2003 post you were listed as a New User with, at that time, 53 total posts.

Jeff says, “…I hope people will allow some growth on my views on why in the last decade and a half.”

Of course, we all grow as a writer. Even Pros. It doesn’t matter if a writer is willing to admit it or not, but as writers we will continue to grow until we’re buried six feet under and become a tasty morsel for worms.

I’ve grown by changing my view on “we see” and other stuff, because of you, which I feel makes me not only better as a writer, but also as a human being. I was a real ass back then about their use. I still don’t like their use, but now I give my opinion, along with examples, on how to use them purposely and effectively for those who’s style incorporates their use.

By the way, I used a “CUT TO” transition in the script I’m working on now. It killed me to use it, but I found it was the most effective way to get across to the reader what I wanted to get across.

Jeff says, “Again, I’d love the context.”

Your post is pretty clear about the context. A-holes like me were bad mouthing “we see” and you jumped in to protect the newbies. And again, I’m glad you did. Now I do, but not back then. You see, I've grown. I’m guessing you said what you said out of frustration of what was being said. Sometimes I have that affect, or is it effect, on people.

You’re not the only industry person I heard that the action/description is referred to as “the black stuff between the dialogue," but you were my first. I was shocked to hear that.

Note to members: To overcome a busy executive’s love to skim action/description, some professionals highlight a few select words, phrases or sentences (the essence of the scene) by CAPPING. I gave an example of this in a past thread called, “Capitalizing Verbs for Effect,” by using a scene from M. Night Shyamalan.

Jeff, after knowing me, in the context of Done Deal, for over a decade, I hope you don’t believe I’m the type of character who would make that post up?

ComicBent seems to have also forgotten about that thread, because he posted right after your post, though he wasn’t addressing you and what you said. He was addressing something what TwoBrad and Dues said.

If you do feel I could have made up that post, which surely would disappoint me, I did print out a few of the pages, not all of them, which I could copy and mail (don’t have scanner to e-mail) to Done Deal to pass on to you, which I really don't want to go through this trouble, but to maintain my credibility I will –- only if necessary.

Last edited by JoeNYC : 05-27-2018 at 01:06 PM.
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Old 05-27-2018, 01:49 PM   #109
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Default Re: How important is voice in screenwriting?

I'm definitely not accusing you of lying. It just struck me as odd that I couldn't pull up the post, since I'm pretty good at searching. For example, if you search for the word "fret," which you quoted me as saying, there's only one post in all of 2003 that used it, and it wasn't mine.

I'm guessing you archived the posts back then? (If you'd found it now, it wouldn't say the total number of my posts - it would say "n/a" like all the other posts do from that era.) I shudder to think of the stupid shit I said that's buried on your hard drive.

This is why I tell my kids never to post anything that they wouldn't want read/seen for the rest of their lives.
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Old 05-27-2018, 01:57 PM   #110
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Default Re: How important is voice in screenwriting?

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I'm guessing you archived the posts back then?
?

Last edited by JoeNYC : 05-27-2018 at 02:26 PM.
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