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Old 11-14-2015, 04:09 PM   #1
Terri
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Question Formatting Q: How to bleep out expletives in dialogue?

In the dialogue, how would I indicate a BLEEP in place of an actual expletive?
Is there a standard way of doing this?

I ask because I'm writing a spoof of a TV show and if someone says something that would get bleeped out on television, I want to mimic that in my script.

Would it be something like:

Lori
What the BLEEP are you doing?!

(if I just write BLEEP... wouldn't that mean she says "bleep"..?)
I hope this makes sense.
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Old 11-14-2015, 04:40 PM   #2
Shutout
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Default Re: Formatting Q: How to bleep out expletives in dialogue?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terri View Post
In the dialogue, how would I indicate a BLEEP in place of an actual expletive?
Is there a standard way of doing this?

I ask because I'm writing a spoof of a TV show and if someone says something that would get bleeped out on television, I want to mimic that in my script.

Would it be something like:

Lori
What the BLEEP are you doing?!

(if I just write BLEEP... wouldn't that mean she says "bleep"..?)
I hope this makes sense.
I'd write it in dialog as this:

LORI
What the *BLEEP* are you doing?!

Last edited by Shutout : 11-20-2015 at 11:29 PM.
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Old 11-14-2015, 05:35 PM   #3
Terri
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Default Re: Formatting Q: How to bleep out expletives in dialogue?

Yeah, I was thinking something like that also... to set the bleep apart from actual dialogue. But wasn't sure if asterisks were OK to use??
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Old 11-15-2015, 09:21 AM   #4
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Default Re: Formatting Q: How to bleep out expletives in dialogue?

You could check out the script for Scott Pilgrim vs the World to see how they formatted it - if all else fails.
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Old 11-15-2015, 09:36 AM   #5
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Default Re: Formatting Q: How to bleep out expletives in dialogue?

Your original way of doing it gets the point across pretty well.
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Old 11-15-2015, 10:44 AM   #6
jonpiper
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Default Re: Formatting Q: How to bleep out expletives in dialogue?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terri View Post

I ask because I'm writing a spoof of a TV show and if someone says something that would get bleeped out on television, I want to mimic that in my script.

Would it be something like:

Lori
What the BLEEP are you doing?!

(if I just write BLEEP... wouldn't that mean she says "bleep"..?)
I hope this makes sense.
Yeah, what you wrote would mean she says bleep loudly. To be clear, try:





LORI
What the...

We hear the censor's inevitable BLEEP interrupt the next word, then

LORI
...are you...

BLEEP

LORI
...doing? You...

BLEEP BLEEP

LORI
...idiot!







!

Last edited by jonpiper : 11-18-2015 at 02:24 PM.
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Old 11-17-2015, 12:12 PM   #7
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Default Re: Formatting Q: How to bleep out expletives in dialogue?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonpiper View Post
Yeah, what you wrote would mean she says bleep loudly. To be clear, try:





LORI
What the...

We hear the censor's inevitable BLEEP interrupt the next word, then

LORI
...are you...

BLEEP

LORI
...doing? You...

BLEEP BLEEP

LORI
...idiot!







!
That would really mess with the pacing, for me. If you're doing it a lot, then it'll make for a really awkward read. I think some kind of formatting for the word, like writing BLEEP in all-caps, using asterisks, or putting it in brackets should be fine.
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Old 11-17-2015, 02:51 PM   #8
bjamin
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Default Re: Formatting Q: How to bleep out expletives in dialogue?

you could also flat out tell the reader that anytime Lori curses, the curse word will be censored. Then leave the BLEEP as you have it, in the dialogue, but also italicize it.

Lori
What the BLEEP are you doing?!
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Old 11-18-2015, 02:00 AM   #9
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Default Re: Formatting Q: How to bleep out expletives in dialogue?

^This is a good suggestion, but for me it still seems clunky. I'd say go with what bjamin says (ie tell the reader in action that all of her swear words will be censored out with a "BLEEP" sound). BUT. In the dialogue, I think you should actually write the swear word out in *ITAL ALL CAPS*. That way we are more aware of her dirty mouth because in our head, as we read, we imagine a ton of BLEEPS happening. For me, if you write BLEEP in the dialogue then the character says "bleep." Tough little question lol.
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Old 11-18-2015, 10:44 AM   #10
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Default Re: Formatting Q: How to bleep out expletives in dialogue?

I think if we're supposed to hear the bleep, and not the word, then you should write "bleep." You want to be true to what the watching/listening experience will be. Plus, the fun of bleeping is that you don't have to be specific about what characters are saying. Arrested Development did this to great affect a couple of times (I'm thinking particularly of the scene where Buster suddenly goes off about Lucille, resulting in a string of bleeps to everyone else's shock).
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