Click here for Done Deal Pro home page

Done Deal Pro Home Page

Loading

Go Back   Done Deal Pro Forums > About the Craft > Frequently Asked Writing Questions
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 06-23-2012, 07:28 PM   #21
Craig Mazin
Regular
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,142
Default Re: Stop "Summing Up" Your Characters

Quote:
Originally Posted by Centos View Post
There weren't any. That's why I put "unfilmables" (in quotes). But I'll edit the comment to make it clearer what I meant.

But just in case anyone is following this, what I would have once described as "unfilmable" would be the italicized portions of the following ...

"The caller, dressed in rough clothing, stands in the foyer, looking very out of place, and knowing it."
You can shoot that. The clothing makes him look out of place. "Knows he's out of place" means he's looking around, embarrassed.

Quote:
"The caller turns -- it is WILL TURNER. Handsome, with a watchful demeanor that gives him a weight beyond his years."
That's totally fine. Entirely about his appearance. His demeanor IN THE MOMENT.

My real beef is with character sum-ups that give us some kind of deep psychological insight into the person we're meeting.

Quote:
"Will's face falls. Clearly, the work is his, and he is proud of it."
Yes, an actor can portray that. Pride in an object... this is in the moment. Perfectly acceptable.

Quote:
"Elizabeth stands on the stairs. Granted, the dress may be painful to wear, but holy smokes!"
Well, the holy smokes is really for us, as in, "she's really, really hot."
Craig Mazin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-2012, 07:31 PM   #22
Craig Mazin
Regular
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,142
Default Re: Stop "Summing Up" Your Characters

Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperScribe View Post
Craig --

How do you feel about something like this?

Tess makes a beeline for the only EMPTY STOOL, but --

REX VARNER (40s, asshole to the core) plops his ass down on it before she can get there... and then SMIRKS as he raises his Budweiser in a fake toast to her.

REX
Next time, sweetheart.

To me, his actions make the parenthetical seem a bit superfluous. Generally, I try to do a VERY brief personality description and then dramatize the dominant character trait almost immediately.

Yet I sometimes feel as though that sorta thing doesn't quite work because of the redundancy issues. So maybe I could just drop the second part of the parenthetical entirely?

(I stole the parenthetical-as-intro thing from Bill Wheeler.)
"asshole to the core" does seem superfluous. Actually, worse than that. It's annoying, because you're not letting me draw a conclusion from the action you've written, so you're hurting the stuff next to it.
Craig Mazin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-2012, 07:36 PM   #23
SuperScribe
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 1,976
Default Re: Stop "Summing Up" Your Characters

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Mazin View Post
"asshole to the core" does seem superfluous. Actually, worse than that. It's annoying, because you're not letting me draw a conclusion from the action you've written, so you're hurting the stuff next to it.
Thank you. Seriously. I think you might have just freed me from some nonsense that I always felt was obligatory. Weird how that (feeling certain things are obligatory, but not remembering why) happens, isn't it?

What if the parenthetical were something like "40s, decked out in his finest leisure suit"?
SuperScribe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-2012, 08:23 PM   #24
BattleDolphinZero
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 2,060
Default Re: Stop "Summing Up" Your Characters

Most of the time those kinds of descriptions stop action. It's like hitting a brick wall. And it's almost never necessary. I hate it. I might have done it on my first script but I usually can't stand it. Sometimes someone like Mann or Bass will do it and I like it. So, if you're that good, go for it.

I would stray away from explaining why. Meaning, I don't even care to get as specific as Craig does about what makes it work or not.

Again, so much of this sh!t should be intuitive.

One instance I recall using those kinds of descrips was in a meeting scene with secondary characters. I felt it was necessary to lock down the dynamic in the scene, right off the top.

But for lead characters or even recurring, it's almost never necessary.

Imo.
BattleDolphinZero is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-2012, 08:43 PM   #25
Craig Mazin
Regular
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,142
Default Re: Stop "Summing Up" Your Characters

Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperScribe View Post
Thank you. Seriously. I think you might have just freed me from some nonsense that I always felt was obligatory. Weird how that (feeling certain things are obligatory, but not remembering why) happens, isn't it?

What if the parenthetical were something like "40s, decked out in his finest leisure suit"?
Perfectly fine.
Craig Mazin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-24-2012, 09:06 AM   #26
holly
Regular
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 265
Default Re: Stop "Summing Up" Your Characters

if im reading craig correctly, or if im forcing his post to piggyback on my complaint, its not that the egregious descriptions are unfilmable in themselves thats the issue - as noted, lots of great description technically falls into that category. its that these descriptions are increasingly becoming terribly precious - and that PLUS unfilmable is the sin.

its funny because you can read a stack of scripts that have unfilmable description in it and some is fine and some is not - like larry flynts porn, you know it when you see it. as BDZ says, it should be intuitive.
holly is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-24-2012, 10:55 AM   #27
Craig Mazin
Regular
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,142
Default Re: Stop "Summing Up" Your Characters

Yeah, look, just to be clear...

The primary sin isn't "I can't film this."

The primary sin is: "I've opted to Cliff Notes you the summation of my character, rather than do the necessary and satisfying work of revealing my character through choices of action and choices of dialogue and choices of narrative."
Craig Mazin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2012, 03:50 PM   #28
JeffLowell
Member
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 3,051
Default Re: Stop "Summing Up" Your Characters

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazin
Also note that you're not Quentin Tarantino. If you are, you can cheat more than the rest of us.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Sweeney View Post
I must have made this point a dozen times here, and all I ever get in return are sneering remarks about how if Tarantino can do something in his scripts, anyone can. Maybe now that a pro has said it people will stop recoiling in horror at the idea we're not all Quentin Tarantino.
Well, no.

The point a lot of people (including, apparently, you) make is that there are different rules for pros and amateurs.

The point that I and others (apparently sneeringly) made was that Quentin Tarantino got to be Quentin Tarantino because of his style - a style that flies in the face of what a lot of gurus say.

He didn't start off carefully putting in a call to action before breaking into act two, all without camera angles or asides, and then discover his voice once he was a pro.

Maybe Mazin will disagree with me, but I think that if you've got the talent to pull it off, there's nothing wrong with an unfilmable stage direction, if it helps the reader enjoy the story.

Perhaps the most famous example:

Quote:
EXT. POSH BEVERLY HILLS HOME - TWILIGHT 49

The kind of house that I'll buy if this movie is a huge
hit. Chrome. Glass. Carved wood. Plus an outdoor
solarium: A glass structure, like a greenhouse only
there's a big swimming pool inside. This is a really
great place to have sex.
Should you do it? Probably not.

Should you listen to anyone who tells you you can't? Definitely not.
JeffLowell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-26-2012, 10:32 AM   #29
Craig Mazin
Regular
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,142
Default Re: Stop "Summing Up" Your Characters

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffLowell View Post

Maybe Mazin will disagree with me, but I think that if you've got the talent to pull it off, there's nothing wrong with an unfilmable stage direction, if it helps the reader enjoy the story.
I agree. However, none of the folks in here have yet to demonstrate a level of talent commensurate with Quentin Tarantino.

Quote:
Perhaps the most famous example:
That example is perfectly fine by me, and has nothing to do with summing up characters.

Quote:
Should you do it? Probably not.

Should you listen to anyone who tells you you can't? Definitely not.
No, for sure. Don't listen to me if you're awesome.
Craig Mazin is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:52 AM.


Powered by vBulletin Version 3.6.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Done Deal Pro

eXTReMe Tracker