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Old 05-13-2018, 03:46 PM   #61
Centos
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Default Re: How important is voice in screenwriting?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sc111 View Post
I'll play.

A green 1965 Mustang races toward a young mother with a baby stroller crossing the intersection. She pulls back as the car roars by, inches away. The baby giggles.
I like the giggle.

I kind of cheated on mine.

Code:
A WOMAN, mid-twenties, gawks at her smartphone screen while pushing a BABY CARRIAGE along a busy street. She let's go of its handle, mutters under her breath and starts jabbing at the keyboard on her phone. The baby carriage slowly starts rolling down the sidewalk, then picks up speed as it heads into the street. The Woman, oblivious, is now yelling at her phone, while typing wildly. Tires screech. Horns honk. Drivers scream. In soundless slow motion the baby carriage rolls sedately through traffic, inches from the swerving, onrushing cars, then gently bumps up against the curb on the opposite side – where it safely rests. The Woman, still staring at her smartphone, blindly gropes for the baby carriage handle. She looks up – then left and right – her brow furrowed in confusion. The phone beeps, drawing her attention. She's gone again.
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Old 05-13-2018, 03:53 PM   #62
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Default Re: How important is voice in screenwriting?I couldn't manage 1 line no matter how ha

Damn, I couldn't manage 1 line no matter how hard I juggled.

The signal says WALK.
A MOTHER with a pram looks both ways.
All clear.
She steps out onto the crossing.
Baby giggles and smiles.
The ROAR of a supercharged engine builds.
A TRANS-AM BLASTS PAST THEM.
Missing her baby by inches.

MOTHER
Motherfvcker!
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Old 05-13-2018, 04:01 PM   #63
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Default Re: How important is voice in screenwriting?

Some good ones!

It's probably a sad state that there're some people out there who think this 80-character/1-line string is just perfect:

A mother. Her stroller. An approaching car... a near miss!
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Old 05-13-2018, 04:33 PM   #64
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Default Re: How important is voice in screenwriting?

FADE IN:

INT. FACTORY – DAY

A new stroller rolls off the assembly line. A robot-arm
swoops down and clutches the stroller – gently stacks the
stroller with hundreds of other strollers.

(insert intersection scene)

Now we have the makings of a writer’s voice.
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Old 05-13-2018, 04:44 PM   #65
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Default Re: How important is voice in screenwriting?

Can the typical movie audience member figure out the writer’s voice from just watching the movie?
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Old 05-13-2018, 05:02 PM   #66
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Default Re: How important is voice in screenwriting?

I can tell a Woody Allen film from an Aaron Sorkin film from a Preston Sturges film from a Diablo Cody film...

I’m not sure about a typical audience member, though. I try to write something I like, rather than worrying about the audience.
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Old 05-13-2018, 05:18 PM   #67
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Default Re: How important is voice in screenwriting?

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Originally Posted by JoeNYC View Post
Centos, what you talk about that’s on a Guru’s DO NOT list is minutia. To use or not according to a writer’s personal taste and style. Will the use or not use get a script sold or rejected, no. It’s the concept and execution of the major elements that will achieve that outcome. Will their use or not use hurt a writer’s voice. For those writers who overuse these minutia elements, in my opinion, they already hurt their voice. For those who use the DO NOTs in a effective and purposeful way, yes. Strictly following the DO NOT list will hurt their true voice.

My problem with you, Centos, is that you have a narrow-minded opinion whenever the discussion turns to a DO NOT list, which is if a writer follows it, they’re writing will be ugly, mangled, etc., writing. This is not true. I demonstrated this fact with my previous post with examples “A” and “B.”
Okay, Joe, I didn't read your A & B samples before. A quick scan of your post made me believe we pretty agreed that the "never dos" were basically good advice when not taken to the extreme. What you don't understand about me is that I did take the advice to the extreme (and I'm not the only one). I'm bitter about that and I believe it stunted my writing. Just do a Google search for "ing" verbs in screenplays and you'll find people writing stuff like this ...

Quote:
In the world of spec screenplay writing there should be no/almost no -ing or -ly words.

Correct: Tom flies over the clouds.
Incorrect: Tom is flying over the clouds.

Correct: He takes off quick, but lands slow.
Incorrect: He takes off quickly, but lands slowly.

However, if you're writing for your own production - feel free to do it any way you want.
Although spec screenplay format is primarily for attempting to sell a spec screenplay it's also good to put in front of investors and professional cast & crew.
No one else cares, especially if you're the director.
And then they get this kind of response from newbies.

Quote:
good post, i learned something today! :yes:
And guess what? That newbie is going to be doing what I did. Searching through his scripts and "correcting" out all the "ing" verbs. And writing stilted crap in the process. I don't know how I got to that point. It's been ten to fifteen years ago, but I know it didn't come naturally. I had to have read it somewhere. And I know people corrected me when I didn't follow the "rules."

But on to your Sample A & B and my C, and comments (I might get to the your newest sample, but I don't have the time right now. Sorry.).

Sample A:
Code:
We see Mary is sitting on the bed. Bob is pacing back and forth in front of her. He goes to the window and opens the curtain. BOB’S POV: The strong wind and rain is pelting the window. We hear a faint sound of a woman screaming. Bob quickly walks toward the door and listens. A chilling silence has replaced the screams. Bob quickly opens the door and starts to walk out of the room.
The only thing I use "we see" for is something "we" see but the character in the story doesn't. I've never used a camera direction (though I have seen them used effectively).

Sample B:
Code:
Mary sits on the bed. Bob paces back and forth in front of her. He goes to the window and opens the curtain. Bob watches the strong wind and rain pelt the window. A faint sound of a woman screaming. Bob hurries toward the door and listens. A chilling silence replaces the screams. Bob whips open the door and rushes out of the room.
I, personally, think this is a little stilted. I think you can make it more dramatic by writing something like this ...

Sample C:
Code:
Mary is sitting on the bed while Bob paces restlessly in front of her. He stops, opens the curtain. Watches as the rain pelts the window. A SOUND. Faint, in the distance ... A WOMAN'S SCREAM. Bob rushes to the door. Listens. Eerie silence. He rips the door open. Runs down the hall.
You'll notice that this even more "extreme" then your sample B. That's because (in my opinion) when something dramatic is happening, that's when the sentences and paragraphs naturally become short and "jabby." It's your establishing shots (description) where you'll normally find the "ing" verbs. I call "ing" verbs "description," because it's usually not much different than describing static background. "Secretaries talking on the phone. Men arguing in the corner around the water cooler. Joe strides through the door and beelines for the Chief's office." Joe's action should stand out from the background action.

At any rate, I hope I made a point. I'm taking a trip tomorrow and my wife wants me to pay attention to that, so I'm feeling kind of rushed now. I think there's WiFi where we're going so I'll try to come back to this tomorrow.
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Old 05-13-2018, 05:48 PM   #68
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Default Re: How important is voice in screenwriting?

Quote:
Originally Posted by catcon View Post
Some good ones!

It's probably a sad state that there're some people out there who think this 80-character/1-line string is just perfect:

A mother. Her stroller. An approaching car... a near miss!
It looks like I missed the point. Sorry.
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Old 05-13-2018, 06:24 PM   #69
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Default Re: How important is voice in screenwriting?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TwoBrad Bradley View Post
Can the typical movie audience member figure out the writer’s voice from just watching the movie?
Yes. Definitely if the writer is Shane Black.
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Old 05-13-2018, 11:12 PM   #70
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Default Re: How important is voice in screenwriting?

Voice is such a vague and all-encompassing concept that it would, in fact, be difficult to recognize a "voice" in some films. But someone who is familiar with writers who possess a distinctive voice will see the author's fingerprints in some films, as Jeff Lowell says here:
Quote:
I can tell a Woody Allen film from an Aaron Sorkin film from a Preston Sturges film from a Diablo Cody film.
Woody Allen's voice is that of the neurotic, self-absorbed intellectual who always messes up his relationships or fails some way or another to achieve happiness. Or something like that.

Voice cannot exist until the components of voice have undergone repetition. It is sort of like the way that a line has to have two points. One point is something with an X,Y coordinate and is real and is meaningful, but it is not a line until another point is established. And then we really need a third point to see if the line is going to continue in the same direction. Voice is something like that. You can invest it with expectation that the next artistic instance will continue the direction that the voice seems to be taking.

On a different issue ...

I wish that people would stop worrying about the -ing verb/verbal issue. If you are a native speaker of English, then you can pretty much depend on your ear tell you whether something is correct or not. Two points of advice:

(1) The present progressive (with the -ing word) is often helpful in establishing a scene when it opens, as in:
Mary is sitting on a couch.
(2) Other verbs, for the sake of brevity in a script, tend to be simple present (not progressive with the -ing), as in:
John paces in front of the couch where Mary sits.
We have already established the static image of Mary (that Mary is sitting on a couch). We can use the simple present to continue the scene.

But, yes, you can switch back to present progressive if the sense of the sentence and the natural use of English argue for it, as in:

The phone rings, and Mary answers. John sees that she is smiling.

The bottom line: Quit following rules about writing from people who have no knowledge of English grammar and style.

On a final issue ... I am quoting someone else's quotes here:
Quote:
Incorrect: He takes off quickly, but lands slowly.
Correct: He takes off quick, but lands slow.
Let's ignore the questions of air speeds involved in taking off and landing. Let's look only at the grammar.

Anybody who really believes that the "correct" example is preferable to the "incorrect" example is an ignoramus.

The "incorrect" form is actually the form that you want if you are going to use the sentence at all. The -ly adverbs are perfectly correct. You could use *quick* and *slow* as adverbs if you are writing in a very colloquial manner, but they are in no way preferable, as if an -ly adverb were a toxic element that would spoil your writing.
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