Click here for Done Deal Pro home page

Done Deal Pro Home Page

Loading

Go Back   Done Deal Pro Forums > About the Craft > Basics
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 11-12-2017, 07:17 AM   #1
Dimitri001
User
 
Dimitri001's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Europe
Posts: 72
Default How to deal with this situation formatting wise?

I have a situation where a character walks into a room and there are five executives sitting behind a table.

One of the execs is an important character who had been references by name, but had not been seen on screen up to that poiint, the other characters are throwaways, it's 4 males, one female.

I have a few problems:

#1

The first to speak is a throwaway male exec who isn't named in the dialogue or anywhere else.

How do I identify this character when I'm writing his dialogue?

Do I just write Male Exec #1?

#2

The one significant exec character I would like to give a physsical description for, and this character had been discussed by name in the script before this point, but never appeared on screen, so the reader doesn't know which of the four men he is.

Is it ok for me to say the one in the middle is John, he looks like this, even tho there is nothing by that point that identifies him in the actual film, or is that to be avoided?

#3

At one point one of the jnr execs points at John while he is speaking ("...we believe and John agrees (gestures at John)") can I put in parentheses in the middle of the dialogue that he points at John at that point, or is that to be handled differently.

This is an important gesture, because it identifies for the first time for the audience (and the reader) who John is and he's an important character.
Dimitri001 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-12-2017, 08:22 AM   #2
catcon
Member
 
catcon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: London, Canada
Posts: 1,882
Default Re: How to deal with this situation formatting wise?

It's hard to format anything for display here, but it may have just been easier to write out the part of the script in question and let us pick it apart.

What you describe sounds reasonable to me.

Sometimes when there's a group of 4 or more new characters, I get the description out of the way all at once with a bullet-point list.

Other times I've described them up front in one quick paragraph, if they're not important.

Other times I've described them as they've spoken. This is especially useful if they do big dialogue blocks because then you can break up those big blocks with 1-2 line description paragraphs so it doesn't look like so arduous a read.

For your "John", you'd mention that "this is the guy who we heard about earlier when... etc." Sound fine. And for the parenthetical, you're about right. Try to keep it to one line: "(points at John)" is fine.

So what have I just said? Anything goes, so long as it makes the point and is clear what's happening.

If I were a reader, as I mentioned, I'd rather have seen the script content than argued about formatting methodology. But that's just me.
catcon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-12-2017, 08:55 AM   #3
nmstevens
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 846
Default Re: How to deal with this situation formatting wise?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dimitri001 View Post
I have a situation where a character walks into a room and there are five executives sitting behind a table.

One of the execs is an important character who had been references by name, but had not been seen on screen up to that poiint, the other characters are throwaways, it's 4 males, one female.

I have a few problems:

#1

The first to speak is a throwaway male exec who isn't named in the dialogue or anywhere else.

How do I identify this character when I'm writing his dialogue?

Do I just write Male Exec #1?

#2

The one significant exec character I would like to give a physsical description for, and this character had been discussed by name in the script before this point, but never appeared on screen, so the reader doesn't know which of the four men he is.

Is it ok for me to say the one in the middle is John, he looks like this, even tho there is nothing by that point that identifies him in the actual film, or is that to be avoided?

#3

At one point one of the jnr execs points at John while he is speaking ("...we believe and John agrees (gestures at John)") can I put in parentheses in the middle of the dialogue that he points at John at that point, or is that to be handled differently.

This is an important gesture, because it identifies for the first time for the audience (and the reader) who John is and he's an important character.
That all seems about right. The only thing that I'd avoid in something like this is the whole Character #1, Character #2, Character #3 business. I've found, in reading this in other scripts and even in writing scenes this way, that is completely impossible to keep track of characters when you just identify them by number.

Understood that these are minor characters that we're probably never going to see again, but in order to help the reader visualize the scene, I've found that it's helpful to find some characteristic to help distinguish these characters from one another, in the same way that the director, when casting them, will likely cast different actors to help distinguish them -- unless, of course your goal is for them to be indistinguishable, like storm troopers.

And if that's the case, then you'd want to describe them that way when you first introduce or describe them. FOUR CARBON-COPY AMBITIOUS JUNIOR EXECUTIVES.

(Or am I dating myself by using the expression "carbon-copy"?)

NMS
nmstevens is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-12-2017, 10:21 AM   #4
Patrick Sweeney
Moderator
 
Patrick Sweeney's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Northern California
Posts: 954
Default Re: How to deal with this situation formatting wise?

If most of the other execs don't have lines, you can dispose of them with a group description - A gaggle of JUNIOR EXECS files into the room.

Then single out any who are important to the scene, but nowhere else, with a descriptive naming convention - An AGGRESSIVE JUNIOR EXEC leans across the conference table, jabbing the air with a Mont Blanc pen.

And give the major character a full description - BYRON EAGLE, 50s, sharply dressed and coifed despite the early hour, serene, raises a single elegantly shaped eyebrow. The Aggressive Junior Exec instantly desists.
__________________
Patrick Sweeney
Patrick Sweeney is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-12-2017, 10:43 AM   #5
TwoBrad Bradley
Member
 
TwoBrad Bradley's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2,018
Default Re: How to deal with this situation formatting wise?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dimitri001 View Post
... the other characters are throwaways ...
Then throw them away.
__________________
"I am the story itself; its source, its voice, its music."
- Clive Barker, Galilee
TwoBrad Bradley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-12-2017, 05:33 PM   #6
catcon
Member
 
catcon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: London, Canada
Posts: 1,882
Default Re: How to deal with this situation formatting wise?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Sweeney View Post
... gaggle of JUNIOR EXECS files into the room...
Love it!

From 12 Monkeys (the script I emulated to death, when I started writing, since I figured I can't go wrong by emulating a script from an Oscar-nominee), here's the scene near the beginning when James Cole (Bruce Willis) is brought in before a 'gaggle' of scientists (who eventually send him back in time):

"...seated at a long conference table, staring at COLE, six SCIENTISTS: an ASTROPHYSICIST, ENGINEER, BOTANIST, MICROBIOLOGIST, ZOOLOGIST, and a GEOLOGIST."

They weren't identified further than that, and they even spoke very much the same, in their dialogues. To most of the fans of that old classic, I'd dare they even identify which of the six cast members was which (though many know that the Astrophysicist was the lady, who shows up again at the end).

PS. And, yes, is the character in my avatar
catcon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2017, 09:56 AM   #7
UneducatedFan
Regular
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 216
Default Re: How to deal with this situation formatting wise?

Character enters board room. Seated around the boardroom table are various executives all dressed in the official attire of the "Yes Man" although a couple are "Yes Women".

Use one of the throw away execs to introduce and defer to the NAMED exec (especially if you wish to show a level of hierarchy within the room) "John, what do you think?" or "Well that's normally John's decision" as all eyes turn to him.

EXECUTIVE YES MAN 1
This is all very interesting
but at the end of the day,
(nods towards John)
it's up to you.

Just a suggestion.
__________________
You know Jill you remind me of my mother. She was the biggest whore in Alameda and the finest woman that ever lived. Whoever my father was, for an hour or for a month, he must have been a happy man.
UneducatedFan is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:15 PM.


Powered by vBulletin Version 3.6.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Done Deal Pro

eXTReMe Tracker