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Old 05-24-2020, 08:24 AM   #1
Dimitri001
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Default Can brief, inconsequential dialogue be put into action?

I have two situations:

#1

A guy is walking out of a bar with someone and he wants to call out to a friend to follow them, so I just write:

"Guy #1 and Guy #2 start for the door. As they are passing the bar, Guy #1 calls out to Guy #3 to follow them."

Is that ok, or do I have to actually format it as dialogue?

#2

The other situation I have is that one guy is talking for a long time to Guy #2 and in the midst of this looong bit of dialogue he just says sorry to Guy #3 and I put that into action. Like this:

Guy #1
(to Guy #2)
dialogue, dialogue, dialogue
dialogue, dialogue, dialogue
dialogue, dialogue, dialogue
dialogue, dialogue, dialogue

As Guy #3 joins the group, Guy #1 turns to him and gives him a quick "sorry," then turns back to Guy #2 and continues.

Guy #1
(cont'd)
dialogue, dialogue, dialogue
dialogue, dialogue, dialogue
dialogue, dialogue, dialogue
dialogue, dialogue, dialogue

Again, is that ok, or should I format the sorry as dialogue?
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Old 05-24-2020, 09:37 AM   #2
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Default Re: Can brief, inconsequential dialogue be put into action?

Whatever leaves the lips should be in dialogue, except for grunts or groans or whimpers or screams etc.

Occasionally, I'll put in "she mutters indistinctly" in description, but that's it. That is, how would you write it, otherwise? "mmsssdddssmmm"?

Also, you can put "he nods" (acquiesces) in description, instead of a dialogue of "Okay".

But we can't be afraid of dialogue or description or any elements of a script; I say that as a writer who's notorious in trying to find ways to shorten everything.

But each element is an opportunity to do something wonderful and amazing!
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Old 05-24-2020, 10:49 AM   #3
Crayon
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Default Re: Can brief, inconsequential dialogue be put into action?

I wouldn't exactly call either of those dialogue examples "inconsequential".

Guy #1 calling out to Guy #3 to follow them has, presumably, the actual consequence of Guy #3 following them. Also, there's myriad ways to ask someone to follow, so how it's to be said needs to be written - not least for it to fit with the character of Guy #1, and the nature of his realtionship with Guy #3.

In the second situation - where Guy #1 says "sorry" to Guy #3 - surely it's significant enough (to his character, and their relationship) for it to be written as dialogue? And I'm wondering what exactly is his reason for saying it? So perhaps a parenthetical could be useful?
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Old 05-24-2020, 12:34 PM   #4
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Default Re: Can brief, inconsequential dialogue be put into action?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dimitri001 View Post
I have two situations:

#1

A guy is walking out of a bar with someone and he wants to call out to a friend to follow them, so I just write:

"Guy #1 and Guy #2 start for the door. As they are passing the bar, Guy #1 calls out to Guy #3 to follow them."

Is that ok, or do I have to actually format it as dialogue?

#2

The other situation I have is that one guy is talking for a long time to Guy #2 and in the midst of this looong bit of dialogue he just says sorry to Guy #3 and I put that into action. Like this:

Guy #1
(to Guy #2)
dialogue, dialogue, dialogue
dialogue, dialogue, dialogue
dialogue, dialogue, dialogue
dialogue, dialogue, dialogue

As Guy #3 joins the group, Guy #1 turns to him and gives him a quick "sorry," then turns back to Guy #2 and continues.

Guy #1
(cont'd)
dialogue, dialogue, dialogue
dialogue, dialogue, dialogue
dialogue, dialogue, dialogue
dialogue, dialogue, dialogue

Again, is that ok, or should I format the sorry as dialogue?
Here again to ask basic questions whose answers you can obtain from the Internet or a rewarding book? No one can spoon-feed you everything you need to know about these things; at some point, you have to do some work of your own to learn them.

The answer to your questions here is “Dialogue.” If a character says it (and there needs to be an excellent reason for it), then it goes in the script as Dialogue. That is a basic Screenwriting 101 lesson. If the dialogue you want to include is “inconsequential,” then why are you including it as dialogue? Besides that, how else will an actor know where are their lines of dialogue in the script?

The answer to all of your screenwriting questions is: “Study screenwriting—on the Internet or from courses, read books on screenwriting, and read all the scripts you can find, produced and unproduced.”
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Last edited by TigerFang : 05-24-2020 at 09:06 PM.
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Old 05-24-2020, 02:50 PM   #5
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Default Re: Can brief, inconsequential dialogue be put into action?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TigerFang View Post
Here again to ask basic questions whose answers you can obtain from the Internet or a rewarding book? No one can spoon-feed you everything you need to know about these things; at some point, you have to do some work of your own to learn them.
The thread the OP is posting in is literally called BASICS, so I'm not sure you can fault him for that.

That said, I do agree with the gist of what Tiger's saying: like everyone else that writes scripts, READING SCRIPTS will help you absorb basic information in a manner that will help as you write. This is Scott Meyers site where you can download scripts to read. https://gointothestory.blcklst.com/s...s-9313356d361c

This is John August's screenwriting io info where you can look up formatting stuff. https://screenwriting.io/

Or someone mentioned Dave Trottier's formatting book too, in another thread. That's also good.

Trying to write with only the barest of knowledge means you are making things harder than they have to be. Take the time to read some stuff. This is a marathon not a sprint.
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Old 05-24-2020, 07:19 PM   #6
TigerFang
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Default Re: Can brief, inconsequential dialogue be put into action?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dimitri001 View Post
I have two situations:

#1

A guy is walking out of a bar with someone and he wants to call out to a friend to follow them, so I just write:

"Guy #1 and Guy #2 start for the door. As they are passing the bar, Guy #1 calls out to Guy #3 to follow them."

Is that ok, or do I have to actually format it as dialogue?
Guy #1 and Guy #2 pass by Guy #3 at the bar as they walk to the door.

Guy #1
(to Guy #3)
You. Come with us.

The three guys go out the door.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dimitri001 View Post
#2

The other situation I have is that one guy is talking for a long time to Guy #2 and in the midst of this looong bit of dialogue he just says sorry to Guy #3 and I put that into action. Like this:

Guy #1
(to Guy #2)
dialogue, dialogue, dialogue
dialogue, dialogue, dialogue
dialogue, dialogue, dialogue
dialogue, dialogue, dialogue

As Guy #3 joins the group, Guy #1 turns to him and gives him a quick "sorry," then turns back to Guy #2 and continues.

Guy #1
(cont'd)
dialogue, dialogue, dialogue
dialogue, dialogue, dialogue
dialogue, dialogue, dialogue
dialogue, dialogue, dialogue

Again, is that ok, or should I format the sorry as dialogue?
Guy #1 speaks to Guy #2.

GUY #1
Blah, blah, blah. Blather, blather, blather.

Guy #3 walks up to Guy #1 and Guy #2.

Guy #1
Blah, blather, blah, blather --
(to Guy #3)
Sorry. A minute?
(back to Guy #2)
Blah, blah, blather, blather.

As a rule, parentheticals aren’t my first choice, but here, they work.

Look at your thread in “Writers & Scripts”. There’s a good script suggestion I’ve posted there for you to see how this type of dialogue is handled in a screenplay. Look for a scene early on where the crew are talking over one another and there’s no dialogue for it until the Captain squelches their heated discussion.
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Last edited by TigerFang : 07-07-2020 at 01:04 PM.
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Old 05-26-2020, 12:52 PM   #7
ComicBent
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Default Re: Can brief, inconsequential dialogue be put into action?

Dialogue is dialogue. It is formatted as such.
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Old 05-28-2020, 12:08 PM   #8
JoeBanks
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Default Re: Can brief, inconsequential dialogue be put into action?

The only time I do it (and even this may be once or twice a script) is if we are hearing some random words or phrases being shouted out in a crowd by some unidentified person in the crowd. Where it's more action-y than a specific line attributable to a character who is appearing onscreen to speak it.
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Old 05-28-2020, 01:10 PM   #9
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Default Re: Can brief, inconsequential dialogue be put into action?

LIBRARIAN
You want all the material requested
by the White House?

PULL BACK TO REVEAL

WOODWARD and BERNSTEIN standing there. The nod. One of them
maybe says "yessir," the other maybe "please." The LIBRARIAN
moves out of his office into a corridor. They go with him.
No one else is around. The LIBRARIAN looks at them, quickly--

LIBRARIAN
All White House transactions are
confidential.

from "All the President's Men" (1976) by William Goldman.
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Old 05-28-2020, 02:28 PM   #10
Crayon
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Default Re: Can brief, inconsequential dialogue be put into action?

dpaterso - How the heck are you able to recall an example such as that?

It's interesting to see that William Goldman couldn't always punctuate correctly.

Someone should re-imagine Woodward and Bernstein as avenging superheroes in this Trumpian era.
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