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Old 02-14-2020, 12:17 PM   #41
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 556
Default Re: This Violates Screenplay Format -- SHOWING

Originally Posted by Unfinishe View Post
I had two readers who recently criticized me for lines that have otherwise flown under the radar.
The thing that strikes me is that you had TWO readers point it out. Were they working as a team, or did two different readers giving two different reads come to similar conclusions about the writing? To me, that would be a red flag.

It's hard to tell without reading the script and having full context.

They may be reacting to some BS "rule" they learned at one point about "unfilmables". In which case, you can disregard.

But they may also find your writing stiff and alienating and are trying to provide specific examples to help you improve. In which case, I wouldn't fuss so much about the sentences they pinpointed, but look at your writing overall and ask yourself if you truly are writing this "like a movie." Again, I can't judge from the tiny context you provided, but if I read an entire script where the actions were all "so-and-so's stomach flipped" I might give that writer the note that they can be better. They can be more visual. They can pull us in more.

Those are my thoughts.

And then, with regards to the conversation about whether or not screenwriting has rules or no rules, I always hearken back to Flannery O'Connor's quote.

Paraphrased: "There are no 'rules' in fiction. You can do whatever you can get away with. But nobody has ever gotten away with much."

There is no rule about unfilmables, flashbacks, VO, "we see", naming soundtrack songs, page length etc. Hell, I once read a script written in first person. Cormac McCarthy doesn't use quotation marks. Writers can do whatever they can get away with.

But you must do it well.

Or else you're not going to get away with it.
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