How would you go about writing this....

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  • How would you go about writing this....

    Ok, first let me say that I'm just curious how other people would approach this situation. I often hear that people hate reading WE in a script. many readers say it's poor writing.

    With that said, how would you write a scene like this:

    A man walks into a room. He found some money in the room, but doesn't want anyone to know. So he locks the door when he enters and looks at the floor. We don't see what he's looking at, but it's obvious he's hiding something. It's mysterious as to what he's doing and what he's hiding. In the film, you'd probably see the camera on him while he's at the door, locking it, listening to see if someone's coming, then looking at something off camera.

    Now, how would you go about writing something like that in a way in which you never use WE, or talk in film language like "Off sceen."

    I've already written the scene out, but it's hard not to use WE in this situation. It's the only time I use WE in the entire script. So without being insulted for not being David Mamet or Charles Kaufman, and without getting smart ass remarks, I'd like to hear how some people might write that short little scene.

    Thanks

  • #2
    Re: How would you go about writing this....

    I don't know if it is a "rule" not to use "we see", but it doesn't look good to see it everywhere. Think of what the character could be thinking in the situation - and make him react and act according to that.

    Not sure if I get exactly what you're after and english is not my native language, so it is difficult writing a scene in english, but I try:


    INT. ROOM â€" DAY


    Door opens and Man enters the room with a suspicious look on his face. Quickly, he closes the door and locks it. He looks at something on the floor, but turns back to the door as if he hears something.

    /H
    'Media is the evil of all evils, they tell you only what
    they want the story to be'¦'

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    • #3
      Re: How would you go about writing this....

      Hard to tell whether your man has already got the money, or if he finds it in this scene when he enters the room? Here's my take just for fun's sake:

      INT. OFFICE - DAY

      The door opens, JOEY peeks inside. He's 40, a rat-faced sweat stain in a crumpled suit.

      No one's here. He turns to leave but an open cash box lies on the desk. Joey can't believe his luck. He locks the door, grabs the money, stuffs it into his pockets.

      He hears MUMBLING VOICES outside! Terrified, he presses his ear to the door. The voices pass by. Joey sighs with relief. He pats his bulging pockets, and thinks ratty thoughts.

      He looks around the office. Something catches his eye.

      He moves to a bookshelf in the corner, takes the money from his pockets -- does something with it. He steps back. No sign of the money. Cunningly hidden.

      He moves to the door, listens. He looks back over his shoulder, smiles with satisfaction. He unlocks the door and exits, closing it quietly behind him.

      ...Shrug, maybe not, each to their own word choices depending on what type of room it is (I made it an office, so there's a bookshelf). Don't overlook the power of smart ass remarks for toughening your hide -- that which does not kill us, makes us stronger.

      -Derek
      -> * <- Click on this magic star to be transported to my website. Ruby slippers optional.
      ________________________________________________
      The practice of art isn't to make a living. It's to make your soul grow. ~The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing (Kurt Vonnegut)

      Nobody knows nothing, and I'm nobody.

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      • #4
        Re: How would you go about writing this....

        Perhaps after he enters the room and looks around you end the scene there.

        INT. VACANT OFFICE - DAY

        MAN enters. He quickly and quietly locks the door behind him. He feels inside his jacket for something as he scans the room. He rummages through drawers and behind books. Then, he trips, catches his balance, and checks the ground. It's a floor safe. He watches the door for a moment, making sure he's clear. Bends down to the safe.

        I don't know if this is what you're looking for, but maybe you should end it there. I know you say you want the camera on him while he is doing whatever he's doing, but that may be a bit awkward.

        I dunno. Just my opinion. Take it or leave it.
        Joan: What does the "T" stand for?
        Jack: Trustworthy.

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        • #5
          Re: How would you go about writing this....

          From your description, it's not clear what happens in scene. Try telling us in present tense, moment-by-moment.

          Bob locks the door, listens for footsteps. Nothing. A sh!t-eating grin spreads across his face. He turns, stares off at something on the floor.

          BOB
          Mama-mia!

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: How would you go about writing this....

            Oh, my mistake. I took it that's how he wrote his action/description. I'll delete my post.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: How would you go about writing this....

              No, I dont want any hint at the scene being about money. Here is what I mean:

              The guy is in a room looking for something - we dont know what it is.

              He has been going into this room often to look for something - we have no idea why.

              In one scene we see him go into the room, lock the door, listen to hear if someone is coming, then look to the floor. - we don't see whats on the floor. But his actions are suspicious.

              Basically the point is: Whats he doing in this room. Whats he looking at. Whats so interesting.

              Money is what he's looking at, but only HE sees it. The audience needs to be left in the dark on this one. And so far the only way I can describe this scene is WE SEE HIM LOOK AT SOMETHING ON THE FLOOR, BUT WE DONT SEE WHATS MAKING HIM SMILE. SOMETHING HAS HIS ATTENTION.

              This scene is very specific in terms of how the camera will be set up. The only time I actually do that. I simply don't want to give away what he's doing in this room until later. But I also don't want to not show him in there. So the way it would be filmed is a man in a room, looking at something, but we don't see it.

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              • #8
                Re: How would you go about writing this....

                I'd suggest you extract whatever lines you may find useful, if any, from the posted samples, and ignore what doesn't apply to your specific scenario.

                -Derek
                -> * <- Click on this magic star to be transported to my website. Ruby slippers optional.
                ________________________________________________
                The practice of art isn't to make a living. It's to make your soul grow. ~The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing (Kurt Vonnegut)

                Nobody knows nothing, and I'm nobody.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: How would you go about writing this....

                  nightporter says, "The audience needs to be left in the dark on this one. And so far the only way I can describe this scene is WE SEE HIM LOOK AT SOMETHING ON THE FLOOR, BUT WE DON'T SEE WHAT'S MAKING HIM SMILE. Something has his attention."

                  -- You don't need to tell the audience: We don't see what's making him smile. The shots, the actions dictate what the audience sees, or not sees. So, you write it accordingly.

                  For example:

                  Bob walks across the room. He freezes. Stares down at the floor. A cocky grin comes to his face.

                  EDITED TO ADD:

                  I just noticed that others have given an example of how to write out the description in a way that doesn't show what the character sees.

                  nightporter, I don't understand why you still didn't have your answer.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: How would you go about writing this....

                    Originally posted by nightporter
                    In one scene we see him go into the room, lock the door, listen to hear if someone is coming, then look to the floor. - we don't see whats on the floor. But his actions are suspicious.

                    Basically the point is: Whats he doing in this room. Whats he looking at. Whats so interesting.

                    Money is what he's looking at, but only HE sees it. The audience needs to be left in the dark on this one. And so far the only way I can describe this scene is WE SEE HIM LOOK AT SOMETHING ON THE FLOOR, BUT WE DONT SEE WHATS MAKING HIM SMILE. SOMETHING HAS HIS ATTENTION.
                    I think you've answered your own question. Bear in mind that the reader only sees what you choose to show him/her. JoeNYC has demonstrated this.

                    Write what you see: "Guy enters the room, locks the door behind him. He listens to hear if someone is coming. He then scans the room with his eyes. Something on the floor catches his attention. A small grin falls on his face."

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