A short pause in dialogue.

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  • #16
    Re: BEAT

    Ass Clown,

    I use actions rather than the word "beat" oftentimes, too. (Although, I'm sure some opinionated moron will tell me that I shouldn't tell the actors what to do. But, piss on them.). But, they are still "beats."

    I think many new writers (and old, for that matter) think that a "beat" must always say "beat." They don't understand that a "beat" is merely a "pause," a device used for dialogue rhythm/pacing, not necessarily the word, "beat".

    Saying...

    SILENT BOB
    And ever since then,
    I've been Chasing Amy.
    (takes a drag)
    So to speak.


    Is just as much of a "beat" as...

    SILENT BOB
    And ever since then,
    I've been Chasing Amy.
    (beat)
    So to speak.


    The first example works better, IMHO, because not only does it take care of the necessity of a "beat" in the diaolgue, but it also reveals character.

    "Beats" are certainly NOT always "worthless." However, I agree that always using the word "beat" for is. Frankly, it's lazy and uncreative.

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    • #17
      Re: BEAT

      "Ass Clown"

      :rollin

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      • #18
        Re: BEAT

        Wha?

        That's his name.

        Comment


        • #19
          Re: BEAT

          I use (then).


          DEEPGRAVE
          No matter. Weâ€TMll have plenty of time to catch up.
          (then)
          I wonâ€TMt let him forget you. Iâ€TMll make sure he doesnâ€TMt forget his lineage, his family. Youâ€TMd better smile. Iâ€TMll need to tell him of the last time I saw you... just moments before you died.



          Lord knows where I picked it up from.

          J.

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          • #20
            Re: BEAT

            Hi, J. I'm going to assume you're serious here. If so, please stop using the word 'then'. Not only is 'then' NOT a substitute for a beat, it screams amatuer.

            Something either happens, or it does not, there is no 'then'. You are simply telling the reader 'hey, after this, is this'. Well, no kidding.

            The beat (which I rarely, rarely use) is used for dramatic effect, giving us a pause in the dialogue/action. The word 'then' does not have the same effect, and I'm pretty sure you are the only writer around here who uses it. Granted, you may be a trend setter, but it's doubtful.

            My $0.02.

            Take care, now go visit my film's website, now that I've given you this sage advise, and saved you rejection after rejection. It's the least you could do.

            THE TAILOR

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            • #21
              Re: BEAT

              Thanks Carson.

              Not that I want to rubbish your opinion, but is it really that big of a deal? Surely I'm not gonna get rejected just for that, right??

              Anyone else wanna jump in?

              J.

              Comment


              • #22
                Re: BEAT

                Riddle me this, why are you using it?

                That would help others answer you.

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                • #23
                  (then)

                  Umm... just habit I guess. I'll replace them with (beat).

                  Now that I've taken your advice, Carson, why don't you go and tear apart the Query I just posted on the Logline and Query Letters board!

                  J.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    There is nothing wrong with using (then). We sometimes use it when a character changes the subject during his dialogue.

                    SAM
                    ...so I told the dude to go to hell.
                    (then)
                    You gonna eat that?

                    Bottom line, stuff like this certainly won't get your script tossed. And it's silly to think that.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Re: (then)

                      Gosh, I hope I didn't come off as 'jerky'. I was really just trying to save you some trouble, as this whole 'then' thing will bring ample problems down the road.

                      It's just not a good idea to 'switch' standard practices just because it's a habitual thing. Especially if it is completely off base. Will a Prodco reject it based of this 'then thing? Well, I bet if this producer is torn between two writers, one being you, he's going to chose the one who knows has a grasp for the fundamentals.




                      -----

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                      • #26
                        Re: (then)

                        Otis, then I stand corrected. It's not something I've seen or would ever recommend, but hey, I've been wrong before.

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                        • #27
                          Re: (then)

                          In Otis' example I don't think it needs anything in parens to denote a beat. The shift in subject sort of creates the beat & actors will deliver the line in their own way.

                          OTIS
                          So I told him to go to hell.
                          Are you gonna eat that?

                          It naturally feels like a beat. But if you must have the beat, I'd use ellipses.

                          OTIS
                          So I told him to go to hell.
                          ... Are you gonna eat that?

                          I've never seen 'then' used in this way. Not in any produced script, not that I'm saying it's never used. But if it is indeed rare, using it runs the risk that it's read as dialog because it's so rare.

                          I use it a-la Opti's example when I want it to read as dialog being delivered in concert with action. Instead of a three part: Action. Dialog. Action.

                          ALEX
                          Oh, look. A monsoon.
                          I love driving in a monsoon,
                          (pulls on
                          jacket)
                          it's so invigorating.

                          I feel it reads better than.

                          ALEX
                          Oh, look. A monsoon.
                          I love driving in a monsoon.

                          He pulls on his jacket.

                          ALEX
                          It's so invigorating.

                          Now, in the monsoon example I've struggled with adding a (sarcastic) wrylie. I had it in at first then took it out because I felt the context of the scene (an argument between husband and wife) and the dialog itself indicated sarcasm.

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                          • #28
                            Re: (then)

                            I don't know. I think it's all subjective, to be honest. When I read ellipses, I imagine that the dialogue is trailing off.

                            OTIS
                            So, I told him to go to hell...

                            Personally, if I'd used ellipses here, I'd then put an action line here like "he notices she's not eating," because to me, the thought's trailing off. I would then have:

                            OTIS
                            Are you gonna eat that?

                            If I wanted to keep it all in the same dialogue I'd do:

                            OTIS
                            So, I told him to go to hell -- hey, you
                            gonna eat that?

                            OR

                            OTIS
                            So, I told him to go to hell --
                            (notices she's not eating)
                            you gonna eat that?

                            Knowing Otis as I do, I'd actually be more inclined to:

                            OTIS
                            So, I told him to go to hell.

                            Without asking, he grabs a slice of bacon from her plate and shoves it in his gob.

                            It may be more words, but that way we're seeing rather than being told. Another option:

                            OTIS
                            So I told him -- hey,
                            you gonna eat that?

                            Without waiting for a response, he grabs a slice of bacon from her plate.

                            OTIS
                            Anyway, yeah, I told him
                            to go to hell.

                            As I said above, it's all subjective, and boils down to personal preference. If a 'beat' makes sense, use it. If a line of action makes more sense, use it. It might even make sense to switch around the dialogue, you can use that, too.

                            Thing is, no one can tell you *one* way to do something. They can only tell you their preferences. At the end of the day, you have to find your own way. So, hopefully, with the many examples in this thread, you've found a way that resonates with you.


                            Good luck!

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Re: (then)

                              If you're gonna use an ellipsis, for a pause or trailing off, follow it with one space.

                              God, these discussions... Oh, never mind.

                              And dashes, used for a sharp break, get a space before and after.

                              I was about to say -- Ah, screw it.

                              Thanks to Cole/Haag.

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