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Old 06-05-2018, 02:25 PM   #1
Southern_land
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Default Is it acceptable...

to break the forth wall in a screenplay and simply say "Google image this and let your imagination take flight!"

I've been accused (rightfully) of writing too densely, so I'm working on that. However I'm currently working on a story with one pivotal scene set in a real world location that needs description. It's something that I've never seen in a movie and I doubt any movie exec/reader will have had any experience in.

in trying to covey the size, shape and threat of this location I've filled a page and it doesn't convey what I'm trying to say as well as opening a Google image results and seeing it first-hand.

What are your thoughts?
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Old 06-05-2018, 04:09 PM   #2
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Default Re: Is it acceptable...

I'd not avoid the hard part of writing it out, to prove you can do it. Telling 'em to Google is kind of cheesy. If the description is that long, maybe you're over describing it?

At most, provide a link "after" you've done your best to describe things on the page, but as a supplement, not a substitute. And what if (it's rare) they've printed out the script? A link's no good then.

I'll remind you that links can change, too, over time, so depending on what it's all about you may have to keep checking it and updating your script file..
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Old 06-05-2018, 04:21 PM   #3
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Default Re: Is it acceptable...

I would never do this.

I would not expect somebody to stop reading the script, open up google, and find the image of the thing.
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Old 06-05-2018, 05:13 PM   #4
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Default Re: Is it acceptable...

Quote:
Originally Posted by catcon View Post
If the description is that long, maybe you're over describing it?

Yes, maybe too many unnecessary details. Rather than describing all the physical details, try comparing the loacation to places that are familiar and create similar feeling.

Last edited by jonpiper : 06-05-2018 at 07:29 PM. Reason: mispelled unnecessary
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Old 06-05-2018, 06:41 PM   #5
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Default Re: Is it acceptable...

I would never tell my reader to put down my script and open up the THE INTERNET of all things.

An aside is distracting enough. If they actually follow through on your suggestion then you may lose them for the day.

Maybe check out some sci-fi or fantasy scripts. How was the Death Star described? How about Rivendell... the Matrix Machine World... Hogwarts... Oz...
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Old 06-05-2018, 09:40 PM   #6
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Default Re: Is it acceptable...

I'll admit, I've done it in one script, and several times in that script (a dark comedy with environmental undertones).

It was for a series of very strange animals, some of which I'd not expect the reader to recognize. I didn't want to spend 3 lines describing each beast (there were over a dozen of them) as a mix of this creature and that creature. For this particular story, I had chosen some of the most bizarre critters in existence, and since they were real creatures and a picture of each could do it justice, I included a link to the image on the wiki page. So, if the reader knew what a collared peccary was, fine, but if not they could just click the link and a trusted page would pop up.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Running_Javelina.jpg
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Old 06-06-2018, 12:02 AM   #7
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Default Re: Is it acceptable...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Southern_land View Post
What are your thoughts?
I definitely would not do this. I don't know what your scene is, but usually there's something that stands out. Describe that clearly and let your readers fill in some of the other blanks.

I don't know if this is your introductory scene or not, but if it is, you can usually get away with a little more "density" at the beginning of script when you're setting everything up.
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Old 06-06-2018, 01:30 AM   #8
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Default Re: Is it acceptable...

thanks guys, pretty much as I expected (knew)... (though I sort of hoped someone to come up with a smart work around, so only 8.5/10)

Back to the drawing board...
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Old 06-06-2018, 06:16 AM   #9
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Default Re: Is it acceptable...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Southern_land View Post
... (though I sort of hoped someone to come up with a smart work around....)

Back to the drawing board...
Maybe you could evoke an image in the reader's mind by using a summary description of an equivalent image. Here are three:

“The scene looks like the combined aftermaths of Chernobyl and Fukushima Dai-ichi.”

“The place has the combined welcoming ambiance of Buchenwald and Dachau.”

“The hero steps through the portal to find himself in a setting that looks like Chernobyl met Auschwitz.”

Whatever your story details, I'd recommend you not resort to hyperlinks as an aid to ply the craft of your job as the writer.

Last edited by TigerFang : 06-06-2018 at 07:32 AM.
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Old 06-06-2018, 08:10 AM   #10
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Default Re: Is it acceptable...

Tfang's got it.

We're not writing novels (thank God); brevity is what I love about this medium.

Anyway, the art/set director et al are going to have their way with whatever written descriptions I offer up, so why fight that and try to suggest that the look has to be "exactly" as on the page?

I don't want to distract from the OP's question, but the above is also why I don't spend much time in my scripts describing characters' appearances, attitudes or even their actions. A sin, I know.

For one thing, I don't want the powers that be to think it has to be "my way or the highway". Not if they're using their money and resources, that is.

For another, I expect the director and actors to (want to) earn their money, and not take my script description as gospel truth. Please improve on it!

And for another, it keeps my stuff at well under 105 pages.
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