Explicit sex intended for R-rated presentation - Should I caveat it?

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  • Explicit sex intended for R-rated presentation - Should I caveat it?

    I'm working on an R-rated comedy script. Some scenes contain explicit sexual activity. Now, since directing the camera is a no-no, I can't say, "We see the top of her head moving up and down on his lap; his lap/her face is blocked by the arm of the couch" - though that could/would be a good way to present it. So, if I just write it as if it were any other sort of action - "She gives him a BJ on the couch." - on the page it would seem to be NC-17. (There's also some in-medias-res butt-slapping.)

    Should I simply assume that anyone who reads it will assume my intent is that it be shot/edited for an R-rating, not NC-17?

    Any downside to just adding a brief, bracketed note? If a note, any suggestions?

  • #2
    Re: Explicit sex intended for R-rated presentation - Should I caveat it?

    I think just the basic description will do without anyone questioning how graphic you intend it to be, especially if there's a comedic tone to the script.

    Camera direction is not a no-no, BTW.

    Write it however it works best for the scene. If it's a comedy, and there's a visual gag in the BJ, and you want to describe the camera shot that reveals the gag for maximum effect, then do it.

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    • #3
      Re: Explicit sex intended for R-rated presentation - Should I caveat it?

      You need to do two things...

      1 - write the scene how you see it.

      2 - make sure that what you are writing is pertinent to the overall story.

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      • #4
        Re: Explicit sex intended for R-rated presentation - Should I caveat it?

        You're overthinking it.

        Write what happens.

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        • #5
          Re: Explicit sex intended for R-rated presentation - Should I caveat it?

          you didn't see blue valentine, did you?

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          • #6
            Re: Explicit sex intended for R-rated presentation - Should I caveat it?

            Is she giving him a blow job or not? If she is - just say that. Rating stuff isn't your job (or your worry). Tell us what happens, and if it's a comedy - make it funny.

            - Bill
            Free Script Tips:
            http://www.scriptsecrets.net

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            • #7
              Re: Explicit sex intended for R-rated presentation - Should I caveat it?

              Originally posted by Manchester View Post
              Now, since directing the camera is a no-no, I can't say, "We see the top of her head moving up and down on his lap; his lap/her face is blocked by the arm of the couch"
              That is not bad camera direction. The camera directing that a lot of people caution against is an overload of technical jargon, like specifying close ups, medium shots, basically using too many terms that breaks the reader away from your story.

              But again, there's always an exception in screenwriting and as others have said, just do what you need to do to get your story told.
              Ring-a-ding-ding, baby.

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              • #8
                Re: Explicit sex intended for R-rated presentation - Should I caveat it?

                Originally posted by Manchester View Post
                Now, since directing the camera is a no-no, I can't say, "We see the top of her head moving up and down on his lap; his lap/her face is blocked by the arm of the couch" - though that could/would be a good way to present it.
                The reason that description is awful and entirely a bad idea to put in your script has exactly zero to do with whether or not you as the writer are directing the camera.

                Zero.

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                • #9
                  Re: Explicit sex intended for R-rated presentation - Should I caveat it?

                  Originally posted by Manchester View Post
                  Should I simply assume that anyone who reads it will assume my intent is that it be shot/edited for an R-rating, not NC-17?
                  This is no time to be coy. Just write what we see. It doesn't matter what sort of film it is, write what happens. Don't leave readers in any doubt about what kind of film you have written.

                  I know this isn't what you asked and excuse me for being so blunt, but the fact that you need to ask about this suggests perhaps you're not ready to write it.
                  "Friends make the worst enemies." Frank Underwood

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                  • #10
                    Re: Explicit sex intended for R-rated presentation - Should I caveat it?

                    Thanks for the comments. Writing the scene as an ordinary scene that just happens to entail people having sex, that's not a problem.

                    As to why I raised the question about providing a bracketed "Note" in the script or whether anything is needed: When I showed the treatment to an industry friend last year, among his notes, "No one will make an X-rated comedy." And, as I mentioned, on the page that's how some scenes come across simply based on what the character's are doing. This friend's got a long list of EP credits, though all on TV movies.

                    So, based on my friend's comment, I posed the question here to get some additional perspectives. And, to see if maybe someone had seen such a caveat "Note" in a script or had gotten push-back in a similar situation - i.e., that some of your scenes seemed X-rated and that was a problem. Since one of the goals is to never confuse the reader, I don't want the reader stopping to wonder if "whoever wrote this thing" was proposing an NC-17 movie. Like if a scene reads, "Five of them suddenly strip naked and start a circle jerk." If that scene is on page 80, yeh, the comedy tone better have been nailed down long before that. But if that scene is on page 1, a reader might wonder. Anyway, that's why I asked.
                    Manchester
                    Member
                    Last edited by Manchester; 04-07-2011, 08:37 AM.

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