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Old 07-02-2019, 12:09 PM   #31
Julysses
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Default Re: How Tone and Voice = Writer's Style (attitude and personality)

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Originally Posted by JoeNYC View Post
finalact4, your opinion is confusing me.

I thought muckracker was talking about the writer's overall voice, which includes tone, but you say muckracker was talking only specifically about tone.

Are you saying muckracker's point is that if you take 10 writers and give them a comedy premise/concept the tone of the material would end up being told with ten different attitudes, such as, farcical, dark, arrogant, formal, informal, etc.?
he said, beat for beat... he believes the choice of words will make him the Edgar Allan Poe of screenwriters... at least in his children's eyes
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Old 07-02-2019, 12:26 PM   #32
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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
he said, beat for beat... he believes the choice of words will make him the Edgar Allan Poe of screenwriters... at least in his children's eyes
Now I'm really lost. Where's my North Star?
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Old 07-02-2019, 12:31 PM   #33
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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
I really am confused as to how a choice of words in the action lines can raise tension -- sure, it makes for a better read, but it's is all about the beat and scene writing
If you're intending to direct it yourself and you've lined up the financing, then I'd agree.

But if you're going through the traditional route of getting producers, execs, talent, and financers to believe in a film when all they've seen is a screenplay, then words are important in conveying a vision.

That's not to say that action lines require long descriptions, intricate poetry, or snarky Shane Blackisms. But every choice a writer makes is a creative decision that impacts the read and, therefore, the viability of the project.

So, yes, word choice in action lines is important in conveying tone and pace, and is therefore important in getting a film from page to screen.

Choosing the right word for the right moment is just part of writing. I don't know why there's an argument about this.
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Old 07-02-2019, 01:42 PM   #34
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Default Re: How Tone and Voice = Writer's Style (attitude and personality)

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Originally Posted by nmstevens View Post
I don't know what you mean by having fun.

And you can keep on saying the above and, sorry about this -- you can just plain keep being dead wrong.

A screenwriter has a voice in every word of the screenplay.

Yes, every word. Even slug lines -- because every word you write is a choice you make that informs the tone of your work.

I've written slug lines like these:

EXT. A REALM OF FIRE AND DARKNESS

EXT. NOWHERE - NIGHT

EXT. THE DEPTHS OF SPACE - LATE AFTERNOON

You read these slug lines and, before you read a single word of the action or a single word of dialogue and you've already been given a sense of the tone of what's going to follow.

I don't know what you mean by "contrive to the usual format."

Really, it just has nothing to do with how real screenwriters right real screenplays.

Formatting has to do with margins and what gets capitalized and scene headings and things like that.

There are more general rules that relate to readability and clarity but the broadest and most central "rule" is to engage the reader and write scenes that are memorable -- and that doesn't just mean writing dialogue that is memorable.

If you don't want to believe this -- that's up to you.

NMS
I've heard people pushback on sluglines like these ("Hey man, you're breaking the rules!"). Personally I like them better than the flat ones. Btw - I've also done "NOWHERE".

I've written some like EXT. ASPHYXIATION - NOW

I know some people don't like that because "where the hell is that, and when is now?" Too cute? Maybe. But if in the following action line we see a guy trapped in a box sinking to the bottom of the ocean fighting to free himself and I clearly describe it as night, I told you where we're at one second later, so I personally like those intriguing sluglines. They make me actually want to READ the slug instead of skipping it.
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Old 07-02-2019, 01:49 PM   #35
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Default Re: How Tone and Voice = Writer's Style (attitude and personality)

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Originally Posted by JoeNYC View Post
finalact4, your opinion is confusing me.

I thought muckracker was talking about the writer's overall voice, which includes tone, but you say muckracker was talking only specifically about tone.

Are you saying muckracker's point is that if you take 10 writers and give them a comedy premise/concept the tone of the material would end up being told with ten different attitudes, such as, farcical, dark, arrogant, formal, informal, etc.?
sorry to confuse you JoeNYC.

either way, it doesn't matter. tone could be different. and voice will absolutely be different.
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Old 07-02-2019, 02:31 PM   #36
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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
so the words I choose in the action lines will raise tension in the movie that's show in theaters?
the way the words on the page are written, raise the degree and intensity of the tension and suspense in the script.

the director's interpretation of those words through visual images, editing, and sound determine the degree of tension and suspense in the finished film.

Quote:
No, it's the beats on the page that raise tension in the script
you're wrong, imo. it's the way the words are written that raise and increase the tension in the script.

Quote:
These are basic to do with being a screenwriter or playwrite .. are there times I would break the rules? sure... if there's a reason to do so... it's all about the pejorative and concept of the script

A screenwriter could conceive that they don't want to break up dialog on the page, and after the initial slugline, write a paragraph description of direction -- use only dialog until the next slug or scene

you could write a script about a deaf person and have no dialog and write sparingly, down the page to fit the concept of a screenplay format
i honestly don't know what your point is in the last paragraph. sorry.

here's an example of the exact same beats. which one has more tension? which one is more entertaining to read? can you feel the difference in tone? which one has a vision a director might be attracted to? can you feel the difference in rising tension and anxiety. can you hear the writer's VOICE?

Quote:
EXT. PLAINS - DAY

Three men walk from the shade.

Bald. No ears. Hairless. And white.

They could be tall.

They are ENGINEERS.

Two of them wear robes. One is naked.

One holds a box. He opens it. A cake inside it. It's dark.

The naked man moves to eat the cake.

Bugs crawl out of the cake onto the man. There are a lot of bugs.

The bugs eat the man.
now compare the tension and anxiety to this... the exact same beats. tell me which is more entertaining? tell me, if you wrote the same 'beats' it wouldn't feel different from either of these in tone and voice.

Quote:
EXT. LOWLAND PLAIN - DAY

THREE FIGURES walk out of the shadow.

They are men - and yet not men. Their skin is snow-white.
Their features heavy and classical - as if Rodin’s Thinker
had risen from his seat. Their smooth heads are earless and
hairless. Their glittering eyes entirely black.

Against the stark land their height is impossible to judge.

They are ENGINEERS.

Two of them are cloaked in dark robes of strange design.
The third is naked.

One of the cloaked Engineers opens a featureless black box:
inside lies a cake of dark, sticky material.

The naked one lifts the dark cake with ceremonial slowness.
It hums and buzzes. Foams into iridescent spheres. He raises
the seething cake to his mouth like the sacrament.

BLACK SCARABS boil out of the dark material. Swarm over his
lips. Glittering insects that chitter and bite.

Under the swarm his lips melt away. A horrific vision of
teeth, black blood, dissolving bone. They are devouring him.
word choice matters. this example is from Jon Spaihts Alien Engineers.
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Old 07-03-2019, 08:12 PM   #37
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Default Re: How Tone and Voice = Writer's Style (attitude and personality)

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Originally Posted by finalact4 View Post
the way the words on the page are written, raise the degree and intensity of the tension and suspense in the script.

the director's interpretation of those words through visual images, editing, and sound determine the degree of tension and suspense in the finished film.



you're wrong, imo. it's the way the words are written that raise and increase the tension in the script.



i honestly don't know what your point is in the last paragraph. sorry.

here's an example of the exact same beats. which one has more tension? which one is more entertaining to read? can you feel the difference in tone? which one has a vision a director might be attracted to? can you feel the difference in rising tension and anxiety. can you hear the writer's VOICE?



now compare the tension and anxiety to this... the exact same beats. tell me which is more entertaining? tell me, if you wrote the same 'beats' it wouldn't feel different from either of these in tone and voice.



word choice matters. this example is from Jon Spaihts Alien Engineers.
Funny you used that script as an example. I actually attended a cocktail party at Jon's house while he was writing it. He showed me his white board. Sorta interesting to see his breakdown. I don't remember if I had fallen into writing yet at that point. I don't know him personally, I was dating his friend, and considered renting another of his friend's houses.

But, yeah, I prefer his version.
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Old 07-03-2019, 08:31 PM   #38
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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
If you're intending to direct it yourself and you've lined up the financing, then I'd agree.

But if you're going through the traditional route of getting producers, execs, talent, and financers to believe in a film when all they've seen is a screenplay, then words are important in conveying a vision.

That's not to say that action lines require long descriptions, intricate poetry, or snarky Shane Blackisms. But every choice a writer makes is a creative decision that impacts the read and, therefore, the viability of the project.

So, yes, word choice in action lines is important in conveying tone and pace, and is therefore important in getting a film from page to screen.

Choosing the right word for the right moment is just part of writing. I don't know why there's an argument about this.
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)
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Old 07-03-2019, 08:48 PM   #39
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Default Re: How Tone and Voice = Writer's Style (attitude and personality)

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

here I'll write a short scene:

Quote:
INT - KITCHEN - DAY

Judy chops vegetables. John enters...

JUDY
I got a call from your girlfriend, Carol is it? She says she's pregnant!

Judy grips the knife tightly

She lunges at John

-or-

Quote:
INT - KITCHEN - DAY

Judy chops vegetables. John enters...

JUDY
I got a call from your girlfriend, Carol is it? She says she's pregnant!

Judy falls to the ground and weeps uncontrollably

she raises the knife to her throat
both are hugely different and give all the stage direction an actor needs.

if you're writing a description and want to add a little bit, maybe, but I would keep it tame, IMHO
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Old 07-04-2019, 01:25 PM   #40
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Default Re: How Tone and Voice = Writer's Style (attitude and personality)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Julysses View Post

Quote:
INT - KITCHEN - DAY

Judy chops vegetables. John enters...

JUDY
I got a call from your girlfriend, Carol is it? She says she's pregnant!

Judy grips the knife tightly

She lunges at John

-or-

Quote:
INT - KITCHEN - DAY

Judy chops vegetables. John enters...

JUDY
I got a call from your girlfriend, Carol is it? She says she's pregnant!

Judy falls to the ground and weeps uncontrollably

she raises the knife to her throat

both are hugely different and give all the stage direction an actor needs.

if you're writing a description and want to add a little bit, maybe, but I would keep it tame, IMHO
Julysses, Your two examples tell us and the actor two different ways for the actor to behave in a situation. How do your examples pertain to tone and voice in the narrative of a screenplay?

Why even give that kind of specific stage direction? The actor will know their character and do what she thinks is right for the moment.
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