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Old 03-29-2018, 03:53 PM   #41
catcon
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Default Re: Using BOLD in spec scripts

Part 2:

FYI, here's a print preview of one of my scripts, just to give the idea I'm getting at in my previous post. You can see that most paragraphs are edge-to-edge:

aggressive_widoworphan_editing.jpg

I think this script was 112 pages at first draft; now it's 104. That's after three major polishes that included adding a new scene at the beginning (+1 page), but then lots and lots of the edits I've described.

I am quite sure that in the case of this script edit, as with most of my edits, I did not delete a single scene or major dialogue or element. (There are always opps to edit stuff at the beginning and ends of scenes, but that's a different story: The old "Get in late, get out early" rule. Nobody's perfect in their first draft.)

But some of you may remember my other posts (?!) where I ramble on about outlining-outlining-outlining everything before I start the screenplay. That means that virtually everything is set when I write the script, and it's hard to re-arrange and re-prioritize and zap whole scenes at that point.

For me, it'd be like changing a house design after the blueprints have been done and foundation laid.

So if the draft comes out at anything over 110 pages (my gag limit used to be 120), I set to finding ways to shorten the thing that aren't tampering with the story, flow or structure.

Nobody should be handing out 120-page specs these days, but I know it's hard to strip stuff out of our beloved stories after all the creative effort we've put into it - not to mention the severe outlining. But you have to employ all the tricks available - short of fooling with line- or character-spacing - to make the thing shorter.

[This is merely one trick I use. It's not dependent upon any particular software you may be using, and I'm certainly not trying to implement some sort of new "rule" that has to be followed.]

Last edited by catcon : 03-29-2018 at 04:00 PM. Reason: The script is actually 104 pages now, not 105!
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Old 03-31-2018, 02:20 AM   #42
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Default Re: Using BOLD in spec scripts

For what it's worth -- about zilch -- I never liked bold at all (even in the headings). But I do like the one suggestion of either using bold headings, or an extra space above the heading (presumably on whether you're running long or short in the script). As for showing signs and emphasizing noises, etc., I think CAPS should be enough.

Screenplain (the terminal application that converts fountain formatted text files into PDF format) has a "strong" option that defaults to both bold AND underlined headers. To me that's definitely too much. Fortunately I found that I can change that by monkeying around with the pdf.py file and changed it to bold only.
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Last edited by Centos : 03-31-2018 at 02:31 AM.
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Old 04-24-2018, 11:02 PM   #43
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Default Re: Using BOLD in spec scripts

I've never used bold in my scripts. In school, I was taught not to. Plus, I've never felt the need to.

But I do use caps. I was taught to make sounds in CAPS but I was told that I was doing it excessively. Things like GROANS & CHUCKLES apparently don't need to be in caps.
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Old 04-25-2018, 01:46 AM   #44
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Default Re: Using BOLD in spec scripts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terri View Post
I've never used bold in my scripts. In school, I was taught not to. Plus, I've never felt the need to.
you were taught wrong. whether you feel you need to is another question but you can definitely use bold in specs (i do it for things like super/chyrons when i want to call out text that will actually appear onscreen)
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Old 04-25-2018, 07:26 AM   #45
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Default Re: Using BOLD in spec scripts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terri View Post
I've never used bold in my scripts. In school, I was taught not to. Plus, I've never felt the need to.

But I do use caps. I was taught to make sounds in CAPS but I was told that I was doing it excessively. Things like GROANS & CHUCKLES apparently don't need to be in caps.
(where's the darn "thumb's up" smilie...?!)

I used to use caps for noises, but now I don't. Some action scripts look ridiculous for all their use.

Same for bold and the other visual text enhancements.

My only personal exception is underlining for emphasis to ensure the correct interpretation. Think "The Conversation" (1974) where Gene Hackman's recording of "He'd kill us if he had the chance" became "He'd kill us if he had the chance".

For a spec script, just get the story on the page, with the proper formatting and structure etc., and don't worry about anything else.

Want fancy fonts and stuff? Publish your screenplays as Kindles on Amazon.com.
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Old 06-16-2018, 01:12 AM   #46
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Default Re: Using BOLD in spec scripts

You can put me in the If It Ain't Broke Don't Fix It camp here.

I've never bolded anything in a script, and I've been fine.


For me, the notion of highlighting slugs is going to pull your eye past the actual content.
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Old 06-16-2018, 05:14 PM   #47
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Default Re: Using BOLD in spec scripts

Or is that the If It Ain't Broke Don't Fix It camp? Heh.

I am essentially with Bart (ExtHollywoodDay) on this.

Over the last 25 years I have worked a lot with templates and manuscript formats. I have experimented with all kinds of heads, subheads, sub-subheads, captions, text boxes, and on and on.

My general conclusion is that we should follow the principle: Simple is better.

That does not mean no bolding, no italics, no caps. But keep it simple and logical; otherwise, you end up with a mess. Trust me. I have been there.

So I would say:

1. Nothing is wrong.
2. Use bold for Scene Headings if you want. Use it for special emphasis in the way that some people have described in posts above.
3. But be careful not to overuse it. If you use it for Scene Headings, then other bold items become distracting.

As you were, ladies and gentlemen. Smoke 'em if you got 'em. Er ... forget that last part.
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Old 06-16-2018, 05:56 PM   #48
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Default Re: Using BOLD in spec scripts

In trying to figure out how to label a couple scenes as memories and not necessarily "FLASHBACKS" I'm reading Sorkin's, Molly's Game.

Normally I don't care either way about bolded slugs, but Molly's Game is 201 pages.

I'm grateful he's bolded his slugs.

So maybe it depends how verbose of a writer you are, as well. That extra bit is helpful to your eye when the writing is dense.
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Old 06-16-2018, 06:46 PM   #49
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Default Re: Using BOLD in spec scripts

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Originally Posted by TigerFang View Post
Personally, I don't use them or even like to wade through them when reading a screenplay (to me, it's akin to the "shouting" implied by ALL CAPS in text messages and forum threads), but for any entity or anyone who wants to buy the screenplay that uses them and wants it changed, it's an easy "fix." The times, they are a-changin'. At day's end, I wouldn't let a script with bold Scene Headings affect my judgment of the main ingredient, which is Story.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Centos View Post
For what it's worth -- about zilch -- I never liked bold at all (even in the headings). But I do like the one suggestion of either using bold headings, or an extra space above the heading (presumably on whether you're running long or short in the script). As for showing signs and emphasizing noises, etc., I think CAPS should be enough.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Terri View Post
I've never used bold in my scripts. In school, I was taught not to. Plus, I've never felt the need to.

But I do use caps. I was taught to make sounds in CAPS but I was told that I was doing it excessively. Things like GROANS & CHUCKLES apparently don't need to be in caps.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ExtHollywoodDay View Post
You can put me in the If It Ain't Broke Don't Fix It camp here. I've never bolded anything in a script, and I've been fine. For me, the notion of highlighting slugs is going to pull your eye past the actual content.
My hardcopy of Casablanca, screenplay by Julius J. Epstein & Philip G. Epstein and Howard Koch, doesn't have any scene headings that are in bold type, and my hardcopy of Adaptation, screenplay by Charlie Kaufman and Donald Kaufman, doesn't have any scene headings in bold type.

Those two movies are in my personal “classics” category and regardless of their box office statistics, for me, they're movies that stand the test of time and they can be viewed by any generation as satisfying cinematic storytelling.

For the time being, I'll emulate the above examples of screenplays and forgo using bold type for scene headings.

Last edited by TigerFang : 08-04-2018 at 09:20 AM.
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Old 06-17-2018, 10:57 AM   #50
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Default Re: Using BOLD in spec scripts

Quote:
Originally Posted by ExtHollywoodDay View Post
For me, the notion of highlighting slugs is going to pull your eye past the actual content.
I agree. It's messing with priorities too much.

If one were as 'short-sighted' as some of the graphic design clients I've had, one would eventually make everything bold, or italic, or bigger, or red, so that it all "stands out more".
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