Regarding "..." & "---" is there a d



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  • Regarding "..." & "---" is there a d

    While reading the "Chinatown" script I noticed Mr. Town's frequent use of dashes and the ellipsis -- and the -- infrequent -- use of "parentheticals." It is my understanding that an ellipsis suggests the omission of words or letters while a dash shows a break in a sentence, and omission or a parenthetical element. Yet I am not convinced that Mr. Towne uses them exclusively for those reasons or in those manners. Also, there is a complete absence of the parenthetical "pause" and "beat" in the whole script. He frequently makes one sentence from two with " -- " but not with "... ". Within a dialog he capitalizes following a "... " but not with a " -- ". I realize there are those that may see these observations as picayunish, trivial and has little to do with the creative process, but I believe the absence of "parentheticals" does improve the script's clarity and flow. That this technique does contribute to the script's "normal" speech flow.

    My question is, "What are the preferred uses, distinctions and understandings for "... " and " -- "?

    (Example quotes from Page 81 of the THIRD DRAFT -- October 9, 1973 follows -- )

    -- Just find the girl, Mr. Gittes I think she is frightened and I happen to know Hollis was fond of her. I'd like to help her if I can.
    I didn't realize you and Hollis were so fond of each other.
    Cross looks hatefully at Gittes.
    Hollis Mulwray made this city -- and he made me a fortune... We were a lot closer than Evelyn realized.
    -- If you want to hire me, I still have to know what you and Mulwray were arguing about.
    Well... she's an extremely jealous person. I didn't want her to find out about the girl.

  • #2
    Re: Regarding "..." & "---" is there

    I think an ellipse offers more of a pause than the dashes.

    When I read Towne's dialog, I tend to SLOW DOWN more when I see the ... and then when I see the ---, I don't slow down at all, I just keep going, as if I'm continuing the thought or speech.

    Just my best guess, though. That's how it works for me.


    • #3

      I use (-).

      Not two - just one.

      I tend to see a lot of newbie scripts use elipses after elipses in every bit of dialogue and in the narration.


      • #4