Screenplay pet peeves

Collapse

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • #61
    Re: Screenplay pet peeves

    I agree with other posters about swearing. I find the F word to be incredibly lazy and ugly. Yes, it has it's place, but I use it very sparingly if at all.

    Creative names bug the hell out of me as well. What happened to all the Mikes and Jennifers in the world? Why does everybody have to be named McKensie or Strummer these days? BTW this trend has extended to the real world. Think of all the kids you know under the age of three. I bet you'll be hard pressed to find a Matt or a Lisa among them.

    I also find it irritating when writers dictate the soundtrack with all their current favorite tunes. There are occasionally moments in a script when a particular song is important to the narrative, but most of the time it's entirely unnecessary.

    Comment


    • #62
      Re: Screenplay pet peeves

      Originally posted by sc111 View Post
      With screenplays, novels, any fiction for that matter, the idea is to keep the reader engaged in the world of the story. In some cases, being a purist about grammar, spelling and punctuation is just as likely to bump someone out of the read because the brain is engaged with visualizing what's written. Some correct usage can be counter intuitive in this state of visualization.

      For example, some surnames require adding an 'es' when forming the plural and though correct it looks odd. James becomes the Jameses and Alvarez becomes Alvarezes.

      For an action line we'd have, "The Jameses boarded the twin-prop plane."

      When using the possessive with these 'es' surnames you add an apostrophe at the end: "The Alvarezes' home was a mess.

      Although correct, both examples could give some readers pause.

      I would get around it by using: "The James family boarded the twin-prop plane." This is correct. However, I would also use, "The Alvarez home was a mess." Purists would tag it as incorrect.

      As for punctuation, in all forms of fiction use of the semi-colon is rare. I recall seeing one used in an action line written by Charlie Kaufman and it stopped me cold. I didn't know why. It was used correctly. I googled around and found that some editors are of the opinion the semi-colon should not be used in fiction. And many famous novelists* have advised to avoid semi-colons. I flipped through a number of contemporary novels searching for a semi-colon and couldn't find the little devil. I then realized Kaufman's use of the semi-colon bumped me because my brain was not used to seeing them in fiction.

      Language evolves and with it so does spelling, grammar and punctuation (double dashes -- anyone?). We're not writing legal contracts or new law. We're writing imagined stories. Be flexible.

      *Kurt Vonnegut on the semi-colon:



      And here's a good article on the history of the semi-colon:
      http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/c...2008/06/_.html
      I had no idea that the use of a semi colon was so contentious. I use them regularly at work. Just yesterday I was so proud of myself for using one effectively (imo) in a script.

      Comment


      • #63
        Re: Screenplay pet peeves

        A novelist against the use of the semicolon is like a painter against the use of yellow or upward brushstrokes: that may be his choice but it doesn't mean there's anything wrong with using them.

        I know there are many famous novelists that have spoken against the use of the semicolon in fiction, but there are probably many more that use it often in their work. What I've noticed is that American writers seem to use it less often than European or Asian writers; maybe it's a cultural thing, I don't know.

        Comment


        • #64
          Re: Screenplay pet peeves

          Originally posted by sc111 View Post

          *Kurt Vonnegut on the semi-colon:
          "Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you've been to college."
          He didn't learn about the semicolon until college?

          Comment


          • #65
            Re: Screenplay pet peeves

            In tribute to the semicolon, I offer - Eric the Half-a-Bee.

            ______

            PS: Wouldn't a more accurate term for this bit of punctuation be a semi-period?

            Comment


            • #66
              Re: Screenplay pet peeves

              Quotes by famous people before the start of the script. Unless it directly relates to the story, I feel it's a vaguely pretentious decision.

              Comment


              • #67
                Re: Screenplay pet peeves

                Well, I'm still of the opinion, when it comes to fiction in all its forms, in some instances, by-the-book grammar can disrupt the read. Examples:

                Shakespeare's line, O, woe is me, is grammatically incorrect. But does the correct form, O, woe is I, read better? Sound better?

                To boldly go where no man has gone before is a split infinitive. Corrected it would read: Boldly to go where no man has gone before. It would get you an A on your grammar test but it would bounce me out of the read, for sure.

                As writers we're writing for the reader. Not the proofreader. And the reader, more often than not, has their 'ear' tuned for spoken language not written language. As children, we're read bedtime stories years before we can read and write. As a result, what sounds correct (in our heads) is sometimes the smoother read than what's grammatically incorrect.

                I googled and found grammatically incorrect movie titles. The fun obes:

                Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. (Should be, Honey, I Shrank The Kids, or, Honey, I've Shrunk The Kids.)

                The 40 Year-Old Virgin should have a hyphen after 40.

                The Ladies Man is missing an apostrophe.

                Marley & Me should be Marley & I.

                .... anyway, carry on.
                Advice from writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick. "Try this: if you can replace your female character with a sexy lamp and the story still basically works, maybe you need another draft.-

                Comment


                • #68
                  Re: Screenplay pet peeves

                  Originally posted by sc111 View Post
                  To boldly go where no man has gone before is a split infinitive. Corrected it would read: Boldly to go where no man has gone before.
                  Huh?

                  How about, "To go boldly..."?

                  That is, assuming there were a real rule against split-infinitives.

                  As the long-ago comedian Henny Youngman might have said, "Take the rule against split-infinitives. Please."

                  Comment


                  • #69
                    Re: Screenplay pet peeves

                    That funny comeback I heard in three other movies.

                    The CGI destruction porn act 3.

                    A bunch of illogical plotting that no one cared enough to make sense of.

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

                    Comment


                    • #70
                      Re: Screenplay pet peeves

                      I care, Bill. I care.

                      Comment


                      • #71
                        Re: Screenplay pet peeves

                        Originally posted by Dr. Vergerus View Post
                        A novelist against the use of the semicolon is like a painter against the use of yellow or upward brushstrokes: that may be his choice but it doesn't mean there's anything wrong with using them.

                        I know there are many famous novelists that have spoken against the use of the semicolon in fiction, but there are probably many more that use it often in their work. What I've noticed is that American writers seem to use it less often than European or Asian writers; maybe it's a cultural thing, I don't know.
                        Pretentious famous novelists.

                        I use them all the time. I use colons, too. I don't think about it, I just write it. I also write in fragmented sentences and use single word sentences.

                        Yeah, the apostrophe thing can be a little annoying. Poor spelling, I notice. Who am I to judge another writer's style. All I care about is an engaging, entertaining story. I don't care if it's in rainbow colors.

                        FA4
                        "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

                        Comment


                        • #72
                          Re: Screenplay pet peeves

                          Originally posted by nealm View Post
                          I agree with other posters about swearing. I find the F word to be incredibly lazy and ugly. Yes, it has it's place, but I use it very sparingly if at all.

                          Creative names bug the hell out of me as well. What happened to all the Mikes and Jennifers in the world? Why does everybody have to be named McKensie or Strummer these days? BTW this trend has extended to the real world. Think of all the kids you know under the age of three. I bet you'll be hard pressed to find a Matt or a Lisa among them.

                          I also find it irritating when writers dictate the soundtrack with all their current favorite tunes. There are occasionally moments in a script when a particular song is important to the narrative, but most of the time it's entirely unnecessary.
                          Well this is troubling. Now I'm definitely going to have to change the name of the protag in my current script, Strummer McKensie, who swears like an flippin' sailor.

                          Seriously though, I know where you're coming from on all three of your pet peeves, but... in my actual current script, half the characters are criminals, half are law enforcement (cops, FBI, Interpol), and one of them is an Irishman from Scotland Yard. There quite simply are going to be some effinheimers flying out of these guys' mouths.

                          And among the criminal bunch there are a number of nicknames, so there are a few creative names between them. But it feels real to me. Besides, this is the largest cast I've ever had, and I think there have to be some unique names in there to help keep them all straight. I personally have trouble remembering names, so it's normal for me to forget which one is Bob and which one is Sam by page 30.

                          *** After watching La Femme Nikita tonight for the first time in years I remembered another pet peeve of mine: Waifish women who soundly kick the asses of trained male killers who are a full foot taller, have an extra foot of reach, and outweigh them by 150 pounds. I'm all for tough chick characters, but unless we're operating in a heightened Lara Croft-type world, ease up, 'cause all it does is make me scoff when I should be riveted.

                          Comment


                          • #73
                            Re: Screenplay pet peeves

                            Craig and John talk about semi colons in their scriptnotes podcast. Two writers on their 3 page challenge misused it. They're not huge fans of the semi colon.

                            http://johnaugust.com/2013/adventures-in-semi-colons
                            Last edited by malfernan; 08-27-2013, 02:19 PM.

                            Comment


                            • #74
                              Re: Screenplay pet peeves

                              Originally posted by malfernan View Post
                              Craig and John talk about semi colons in their scriptnotes podcast. Two writers on their 3 page challenge misused it. They're not huge fans of the semi colon.

                              http://johnaugust.com/2013/adventures-in-semi-colons
                              Perhaps the reason so many are against the use of semi-colons is because few know how to use them correctly, no?
                              FA4

                              Revised without proofreading first.
                              Last edited by finalact4; 08-28-2013, 10:11 AM.
                              "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

                              Comment


                              • #75
                                Re: Screenplay pet peeves

                                Originally posted by finalact4 View Post
                                Perhaps this is the reason so many are against the use of semi-colons is because few know how to use them correctly, no?
                                FA4
                                True. In the case of the 3-page challenge script they mention in the podcast, I can't understand why the writer thought it would be a good idea to use a semicolon there.

                                Ellipses are also often misused in screenplays.

                                Comment

                                Working...
                                X