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Old 07-04-2019, 01:39 PM   #41
Bunker
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Default Re: How Tone and Voice = Writer's Style (attitude and personality)

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Originally Posted by Julysses View Post
obviously you want to choose your words wisely, but you're writing stage direction, not a novel

I don't think that a great choice of words with the action lines going to sell a script, it's going to be concept and execution

if you want to be creative, you should focus on characterization and dialog(as originally stated)
I'm not quite sure what position you're arguing. I agree — a screenplay is fundamentally different than a novel or a poem. I don't see anyone disagreeing with that. Other posters are using examples from novels and poems as illustrations of the power of word choice, but I don't see anyone advocating for writing screenplays in verse or long blocks of 3rd limited past-tense.

If you're arguing that writers can go too far with their action lines, then sure, I imagine that everyone agrees with that too.

But you seem to believe that there's an either/or at play here. That, somehow, conveying tone and pace in the action lines is done at the expense of story, character, and dialogue. Maybe that's true for some writers. Good writers can do both.
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Old 07-05-2019, 02:52 PM   #42
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Default Re: How Tone and Voice = Writer's Style (attitude and personality)

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Final, I think you are hyperfocused on that you can tell a story with the action lines... you need to the Actors and Director do their work
i am focused on talking about the written word, which is the point of this thread. i'm not talking about how directors and actors interpret a screenplay into a finished film.

actors and directors are not present in a screenplay. they are not influencing the story, its narrative direction, or the characters with their own vision or interpretation of the written word.

the screenplay stands alone on the words on its pages.

i stand by the two examples i gave. the exact same beats-- one is more entertaining and presents better storytelling. it has tone and voice, which infuses the pages with a sense of wonder, dread, anxiety and horror, whereas the first does not.

the scene in the second example was basically the opening scene in Prometheus. watch it and you'll feel the same tone as in the script.

i'm not sure what you're trying to say with the two examples other than action lines dictate intention, which i agree with.

Bunker said it well-- good writers can do both.
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Old 07-05-2019, 03:19 PM   #43
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Default Re: How Tone and Voice = Writer's Style (attitude and personality)

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Originally Posted by Bunker View Post
I'm not quite sure what position you're arguing. I agree — a screenplay is fundamentally different than a novel or a poem. I don't see anyone disagreeing with that. Other posters are using examples from novels and poems as illustrations of the power of word choice.
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Originally Posted by muckraker View Post
I've read BALLS OUT back in the day and sure it's good.

The example actually seem to be confirming the OP's hypothesis, which is that the way it's written helps it stand out and heightens the storytelling. The voice.

I would argue that ten people can write the same screenplay, beat for beat, without altering the dialogue even, and convey the story in a different voice. Having a good voice can be the difference between a great story poorly or competently executed and an all-around great script.
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Originally Posted by finalact4 View Post
i agree completely.

of course, changing some of the dialogue would be optimum to capitalize on the overall tone as well.
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what mudraker is saying is that if you took different writers.. Shane Black, Jon Spaihts, James Cameron, and even any one of us, that you could... have a different tone and would definitely have a different voice... from each of them, even if they were writing the same beats.

this has nothing to do with the difference between screenplays and novels. btw, you can be poetic in screenplays and still be efficient, concise, and economic.
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you have a scene. you have an emotional word that you want to express in that scene. for example dread and you write the entire scene from that point of view. if there is more than one character one character's words and expressions can apply "dread" and the other can contrast "dread." this technique can amplify the emotion, heighten the experience.

it taught you how to communicate a feeling, mood, and emotions through word choice and sentence structure to create fear, dread, tension, suspense, surprise, rising action, etc. and the beauty of it, is that once you understand how to do this, you just always do it. it becomes a part of your style.
...haha

in the in-fighting about semantics in sorta out of hand at this point, but yes.

you're like the 100th person to come on and debate the subject instead of discussing the actual topic.

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Originally Posted by Bunker View Post
If you're arguing that writers can go too far with their action lines, then sure, I imagine that everyone agrees with that too.

But you seem to believe that there's an either/or at play here. That, somehow, conveying tone and pace in the action lines is done at the expense of story, character, and dialogue. Maybe that's true for some writers. Good writers can do both.
my point would be that you have a very limited space to convey a lot of important information

I would focus on Dialog and Characterization to build tension in screenplay
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Old 07-05-2019, 03:35 PM   #44
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Default Re: How Tone and Voice = Writer's Style (attitude and personality)

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... i stand by the two examples i gave. the exact same beats-- one is more entertaining and presents better storytelling. it has tone and voice, which infuses the pages with a sense of wonder, dread, anxiety and horror, whereas the first does not....
I agree. And I'll go further -- for an unknown, unsold writer it's even more important to make anyone in the industry reading your pages "feel" something. Feel a genuine emotion.

Many moons ago, when I was still actively trying to break in, a previous manager wanted to go wide with a script and got an agent to hip-pocket me after she read the pages. He forwarded her email to me. She stated that the reason she would rep the script was because a particular scene made her "cry a little."

That took me by surprise and ended up being very educational.

I realized that, if an industry person reading your work feels a genuine emotion -- as you said, wonder, dread, anxiety and horror (and any other number of emotional reactions including positive emotions) -- it creates a connection not only with the work but also with the writer.

But here's the catch -- to elicit genuine emotion in a reader, the writer must also genuinely "feel" something when writing it. This requires brutal honesty in the work. Attempting to strategically push emotional buttons in a by-the-numbers script lapses into melodrama and will turn professionals off.

Lastly, what amazes me about a lot of the people who give unsolicited advice online is a tendency to underestimate the intelligence of people working in the industry who can actually move your work closer to production.

They're smart people. You [collective you] can't easily trick them into thinking you're a better writer than you are simply because you've followed "rules" in some screenwriting guru's book.
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Old 07-05-2019, 04:06 PM   #45
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Default Re: How Tone and Voice = Writer's Style (attitude and personality)

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I agree. And I'll go further -- for an unknown, unsold writer it's even more important to make anyone in the industry reading your pages "feel" something. Feel a genuine emotion.

Many moons ago, when I was still actively trying to break in, a previous manager wanted to go wide with a script and got an agent to hip-pocket me after she read the pages. He forwarded her email to me. She stated that the reason she would rep the script was because a particular scene made her "cry a little."

That took me by surprise and ended up being very educational.

I realized that, if an industry person reading your work feels a genuine emotion -- as you said, wonder, dread, anxiety and horror (and any other number of emotional reactions including positive emotions) -- it creates a connection not only with the work but also with the writer.

But here's the catch -- to elicit genuine emotion in a reader, the writer must also genuinely "feel" something when writing it. This requires brutal honesty in the work. Attempting to strategically push emotional buttons in a by-the-numbers script lapses into melodrama and will turn professionals off.

Lastly, what amazes me about a lot of the people who give unsolicited advice online is a tendency to underestimate the intelligence of people working in the industry who can actually move your work closer to production.

They're smart people. You [collective you] can't easily trick them into thinking you're a better writer than you are simply because you've followed "rules" in some screenwriting guru's book.
you empathize with a character and a situation, not a choice of words in an action line... not sure a women getting emotional is... what book are you talking about?
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Old 07-05-2019, 06:56 PM   #46
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Default Re: How Tone and Voice = Writer's Style (attitude and personality)

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you empathize with a character and a situation, not a choice of words in an action line... not sure a women getting emotional is... what book are you talking about?
she's talking about a screenplay, you know, a blueprint to a film.

sexist statement, btw.
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Last edited by finalact4 : 07-05-2019 at 07:15 PM.
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Old 07-05-2019, 07:15 PM   #47
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Default Re: How Tone and Voice = Writer's Style (attitude and personality)

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Originally Posted by sc111 View Post
I agree. And I'll go further -- for an unknown, unsold writer it's even more important to make anyone in the industry reading your pages "feel" something. Feel a genuine emotion.

Many moons ago, when I was still actively trying to break in, a previous manager wanted to go wide with a script and got an agent to hip-pocket me after she read the pages. He forwarded her email to me. She stated that the reason she would rep the script was because a particular scene made her "cry a little."

That took me by surprise and ended up being very educational.

I realized that, if an industry person reading your work feels a genuine emotion -- as you said, wonder, dread, anxiety and horror (and any other number of emotional reactions including positive emotions) -- it creates a connection not only with the work but also with the writer.

But here's the catch -- to elicit genuine emotion in a reader, the writer must also genuinely "feel" something when writing it. This requires brutal honesty in the work. Attempting to strategically push emotional buttons in a by-the-numbers script lapses into melodrama and will turn professionals off.

Lastly, what amazes me about a lot of the people who give unsolicited advice online is a tendency to underestimate the intelligence of people working in the industry who can actually move your work closer to production.

They're smart people. You [collective you] can't easily trick them into thinking you're a better writer than you are simply because you've followed "rules" in some screenwriting guru's book.
i've been taking these Masterclases and they are really great. we're talking well known writers and filmmakers like: Patterson, Baldacci, Mamet, Gaiman, Brown, Howard, Appatow, Sorkin, Rhimes, Foster-- and they all talk about the emotional connection with the material (script), reader and audience. it starts with the words on the page.

i think you've nailed it, too, creating an emotional connection is vital. someone has to feel passion for your project the same way you do in order for them to invest their time and money into producing it. they aren't going to do that if they just like the idea. they have to feel connected to it.

i agree, if you can let go and put yourself in a vulnerable place to write an honest scene your emotional investment can translate to the page. these are the most authentic moments and as such, the most emotional. i've cried when i've killed off a character. i've given myself nightmares with a horror scene... my best scenes are the ones i feel as i write.

i mean, that's why i go to movies-- to feel something. to feel alive.
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Old 07-05-2019, 11:08 PM   #48
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Default Re: How Tone and Voice = Writer's Style (attitude and personality)

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she's talking about a screenplay, you know, a blueprint to a film.

sexist statement, btw.
What's sexist?
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Old 07-06-2019, 12:09 AM   #49
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Default Re: How Tone and Voice = Writer's Style (attitude and personality)

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What's sexist?
when you said, "...not sure a woman getting emotional is..."

what else could it possibly be? other than what she said, that she had an emotional connection to the script when she read it.
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Old 07-06-2019, 03:05 PM   #50
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Default Re: How Tone and Voice = Writer's Style (attitude and personality)

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when you said, "...not sure a woman getting emotional is..."

what else could it possibly be? other than what she said, that she had an emotional connection to the script when she read it.
I was just setting you up, because I do think you and few people around here don't care about the craft of screenwriting, you just to be right and hope some professional writer will take you under their wing and fly you into hollywood stardom...

I left it ambiguous because you're desperate to be right and would draw the conclusion to attack me.

...just write a good script and be yourself

I'm not sure a literary agent(woman) getting emotional is about the prose of your action lines and I'm sure it more to do with the overall story and empathy for these characters

She's talking about having a voice and someone championing her voice... this is what having a voice is all about, having your own perspective on people and events
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