Why write sluglines in a spec script?

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  • #16
    Re: Why write sluglines in a spec script?

    I said: It is just like putting the Character Name above dialogue and keeping dialogue lines between 3-4 inches in length.
    TwoBrad said: Don't you mean 3 - 4 lines?
    No, I mean that dialogue lines are fomatted with margins so that the maximum line length is 3-4 inches on the horizontal.

    It is strange that people so frequently misunderstand that statement and think that the reference is to vertical.

    "The fact that you have seen professionals write poorly is no reason for you to imitate them." - ComicBent.

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    • #17
      Re: Why write sluglines in a spec script?

      Originally posted by ComicBent View Post
      No, I mean that dialogue lines are fomatted with margins so that the maximum line length is 3-4 inches on the horizontal.

      It is strange that people so frequently misunderstand that statement and think that the reference is to vertical.
      It is my belief that people *need* to have this kind of color by number mentality. You can control how many lines of dialogue you write a lot easier than you can actually *learn* how to write good dialogue.

      Which is why rules are shoved down the throats of newbies, and those who actually sell write the way they see fit to write.

      It's not because they earned the right with a sale... it's because they actually know what the hell they're doing.
      "So I guess big parts of our youth are supposed to suck. Otherwise we'd get too attached and wake up one day trapped on a hamster wheel that used to look like a merri-go-round." - Hal Sparks

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      • #18
        Re: Why write sluglines in a spec script?

        Originally posted by ComicBent View Post
        No, I mean that dialogue lines are fomatted with margins so that the maximum line length is 3-4 inches on the horizontal.

        It is strange that people so frequently misunderstand that statement and think that the reference is to vertical.
        Sorry, I got confused because you said "length" instead of "width".

        My bad.
        "I am the story itself; its source, its voice, its music."
        - Clive Barker, Galilee

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        • #19
          Re: Why write sluglines in a spec script?

          Originally posted by TwoBrad Bradley View Post

          The “difference in length” is not an issue because once everyone stops using sluglines you can compare the lengths of scripts
          and this day will happen the same day as every writer uses only Final Draft to write their screenplays
          "you have to write right, right?" -- Todd Gordon

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          • #20
            Re: Why write sluglines in a spec script?

            Sluglines can (and should) also be used dramatically or comedically in your storytelling. It is one of the few elements in filmmaking that only the writer has.

            If the teens in your screenplay are terrified of "the old Kranston house where all those murders took place" then the first instance of EXT. THE KRANSTON HOUSE - NIGHT forebodes a chilling scene. It's a dramatic beat.

            I've also used a slugline as a sort of punchline in my latest comedy, where the characters have to decide where to go after their base is destroyed: the only remaining building (a research lab) or into the burning desert, research lab... burning desert, research lab... EXT. BURNING DESERT - DAY

            Success,

            InDeep
            Many men, perhaps even most, are unhappy in their souls. We burn so hard but shed so little light it makes us crazy and sad. - CLIVE BARKER

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            • #21
              Re: Why write sluglines in a spec script?

              Originally posted by InDeep View Post
              If the teens in your screenplay are terrified of "the old Kranston house where all those murders took place" then the first instance of EXT. THE KRANSTON HOUSE - NIGHT forebodes a chilling scene.
              Fore-whating?

              Did you leave out an adjective in your "Kranston House" example?

              I would be very careful with this style. I prefer to use the Action to describe things rather than the slugline. Locations in the Scene Heading should be consistent throughout the screenplay.

              For example:

              EXT. BURNING DESERT – NIGHT
              Jack and Sarah huddle around the campfire.
              TwoBrad Bradley
              Member
              Last edited by TwoBrad Bradley; 01-22-2007, 10:34 AM.
              "I am the story itself; its source, its voice, its music."
              - Clive Barker, Galilee

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              • #22
                Re: Why write sluglines in a spec script?

                I'm jumping in really late here, but if you don't include slug lines in your script, I can't imagine your script getting past the assistant's assistant.

                It says: I'm an amateur who didn't even bother to use industry standard format in my script. Not the best first impression to make. Why show up for your job interview with an untied shoe and ketchup on your jacket? Make the effort. I have read hundreds of spec scripts and never seen one yet without slug lines. I almost don't understand this question, though it has probably morphed since it was first posted.

                Julie Gray



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                • #23
                  Many men, perhaps even most, are unhappy in their souls. We burn so hard but shed so little light it makes us crazy and sad. - CLIVE BARKER

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                  • #24
                    Re: Why write sluglines in a spec script?

                    I'm not saying you're wrong. It is a style choice. You gave your opinions of one style. I gave an opinion of a different style.

                    Sorry about the "fore-whating- thing. You reminded me of a bit of dialogue in the Animation Studio tour at WDW.

                    " ... first instance of EXT. THE KRANSTON HOUSE - NIGHT forebodes a chilling scene.- It doesn't forebode anything for me. That's why I asked if you left out an adjective.

                    Originally posted by InDeep
                    You are right - action does not belong in a slugline (I don't think I presented any action in the above sluglines, but I also didn't bother formatting my example) and that sluglines must, for the reader's sake and for the line producer's, reflect the locations consistently throughout the script.
                    There's Action and Dialogue in a screenplay. Action is where you introduce characters, describe what they are doing, describe what is happening, and describe people, places and things.

                    What if being consistent doesn't make sense?

                    EXT. BURNING DESERT - DAY

                    Jack wipes the sweat from Sarah's forehead.

                    (and later in the exact same location)

                    EXT. BURNING DESERT - NIGHT

                    Jack and Sarah huddle around the campfire.
                    "I am the story itself; its source, its voice, its music."
                    - Clive Barker, Galilee

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                    • #25
                      Re: Why write sluglines in a spec script?

                      Indeep, thanks, even more reasons to use sluglines. Gives the script more punch, more drama and tension.
                      jonpiper
                      Member
                      Last edited by jonpiper; 01-22-2007, 08:51 PM.

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                      • #26
                        Re: Why write sluglines in a spec script?

                        TBB: If, as in my example, characters had previously described the house as a scary place where terrible things happen, then the next use of that house as a location could have a dramatic effect and lead the audience/reader to believe that bad stuff is about to happen. As a writer, that's the sort of thing that you want to do, no? Give the reader that "oh no" feeling that the movie going audience is supposed to have, in this instance? (foreboding). Maybe we're just disconnecting on symantics or formatting.
                        Many men, perhaps even most, are unhappy in their souls. We burn so hard but shed so little light it makes us crazy and sad. - CLIVE BARKER

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Re: Why write sluglines in a spec script?

                          Originally posted by InDeep View Post
                          Maybe we're just disconnecting on symantics or formatting.
                          No, it's not. I see now what you're doing. First the characters talk about the house which serves as foreboding. Then the actual slugline can be used to increase the foreboding.

                          You know, you can set up all your locations this way - even if a location is not scary or comical.

                          You can even set up all your characters this same way.

                          BILL
                          Tomorrow you'll meet my Aunt Hilde. She's
                          really disgusting.

                          (then a few pages later ...)

                          INT. KITCHEN - DAY

                          AUNT HILDE, 78, sits at the table. (The reader thinks, oh no, something disgusting is going to happen) She raises her leg and
                          "I am the story itself; its source, its voice, its music."
                          - Clive Barker, Galilee

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