A short pause in dialogue.

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  • A short pause in dialogue.

    "Beat" or "..."

    Or mix them up?


    Thanks,

  • #2
    Or with brief action, sometimes with ellipses. This is what I usually try to do. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. Depends.

    DUBYA
    For the sake of humanity, for the sake of
    the Palestinians who suffer, for the sake
    of the Israelis who are under attack, we
    must stop the terror. I call upon all nations
    to do everything they can to stop these
    terrorist killers. Thank you...

    ...as he takes a bite out of a banana...

    DUBYA
    ...Now watch this drive.

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    • #3
      I use variations of what OJ offered.

      I used to use 'beat' but stopped because, when reading others' scripts, I realized it popped me out of the story and reminded me I was reading a script.

      Oj's example keeps you visually immersed in the story.

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      • #4
        Beat it. Just beat it.

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        • #5


          Totally deflowering now.

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          • #6
            I use both. I prefer to use (beat) but I find that it costs me at least one line, sometimes two lines in a script page of 55. If that forces the slugline or chunk of text to spill over to the next page, I'll probably use "..." But I don't stress over it. I don't really know the difference.

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            • #7
              I (beat) the sh!t out of my scripts.

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              • #8
                . . . beat. . .

                . . . beat. . .

                beat the crap outtta tony rob.

                vig

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                • #9
                  Using beat would probably be the best idea. I've seen scripts with more beats than a Pete Sandoval drum solo, so I'm sure nobody will complain if you use a beat every once in a while.

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                  • #10
                    I prefer putting "Shatner" in paretheses. Works great if you cram all the other words together.

                    CAPTAIN
                    I--
                    (Shatner)
                    don'tknowwhatyoumean.
                    We--
                    (Shatner)
                    comeinpeace.

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                    • #11
                      This subject comes up quite a bit. Something else to consider is why to pause.

                      This is just something to consider and not necessarily a â€carved in stone†rule.

                      Within a block of dialogue, some screenwriters donâ€TMt insert any pauses at all. They leave it up to the director/actor to â€pause†where they see fit. The tone (feeling, interpretation) of the story could have changed slightly by that point making a slightly different read more effective.

                      Some screenwriters insert a â€beat†only when the direction and/or intensity of the dialogue changes. Itâ€TMs a clue to the actor/director/reader that a â€change†is about to happen. And (like in OJâ€TMs example) a bit of action might be better than a beat especially if it reinforces the change.

                      A curious observation about OJâ€TMs example: Wouldnâ€TMt it be better without a pause? If Dubya said that all in one breath?

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                      • #12
                        Better? As in demonstrating his lack of compassion - absolutely.

                        But I had to put a banana in his hand. I had to.

                        And in reality, he did pause at that moment, didn't he?

                        But I get your point. And it's a good one.

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                        • #13
                          BEAT

                          Ah, I have a strong opinion here.

                          I think beats are worthless. What the hell is a beat? A screenplay is all about hitting the reader with image after image. What am I supposed to visualize when a character "beats"? As someone else replied, it takes me out of the story. That is a SIN.

                          I think most writers use "beat" to show off that they are hip to screenwriting devices, when in fact it's totally worthless.

                          I always use a gesture or action. My easiest solution is to put something in the character's hand. Why do you think so many film characters smoke?

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                          • #14
                            Re

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                            • #15
                              Re

                              Nice short pause, KW.

                              :eek

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