A question of syntax

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  • A question of syntax

    Hey y'all, had a question regarding order within a slug. It probably boils down to a matter of taste, but here goes....

    The setting is a forest during an alien invasion. There will be cross cuts between various characters in adjoining parts of the same forest (for pacing purposes, of course). Below, is an example of slug options using one of said characters. Thank you for your time !


    Use this?

    EXT. THE FOREST/WITH MIKE - CONTINUOUS

    or this?

    EXT. WITH MIKE/THE FOREST - CONTINUOUS



    You guys rock
    Last edited by nativeson; 10-02-2014, 08:27 PM.

  • #2
    Re: A question of syntax

    Originally posted by nativeson View Post
    Hey y'all, had a question regarding order within a slug. It probably boils down to a matter of taste, but here goes....

    The setting is a forest during an alien invasion. There will be cross cuts between various characters in adjoining parts of the same forest (for pacing purposes, of course). Below, is an example of slug options using one of said characters. Thank you for your time !


    Use this?

    EXT. THE FOREST/WITH MIKE - CONTINUOUS

    or this?

    EXT. WITH MIKE/THE FOREST - CONTINUOUS



    You guys rock
    For what it's worth, I'd go from the general to the specific -- IN THE FOREST -- WITH MIKE.


    I guess my thinking is from the production viewpoint. First of all, they want to know the location -- and the actual location is THE FOREST, not "WITH MIKE" --

    Now, in terms of setting up a particular scene on a particular day, you may have a particular scene "IN THE FOREST -- WITH MIKE" -- but that's going to be one of a series of scenes "in the forest" -- not part of a series of scenes "with mike."

    You might have other scenes "with Mike" at various other locations.

    IN THE LIVING ROOM -- WITH MIKE

    AT THE CAMPSITE -- WITH MIKE

    But you wouldn't group all of those together under the category of "WITH MIKE" scenes. You group them by location.

    NMS

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: A question of syntax

      Originally posted by nativeson View Post
      Hey y'all, had a question regarding order within a slug. It probably boils down to a matter of taste, but here goes....

      The setting is a forest during an alien invasion. There will be cross cuts between various characters in adjoining parts of the same forest (for pacing purposes, of course). Below, is an example of slug options using one of said characters. Thank you for your time !


      Use this?

      EXT. THE FOREST/WITH MIKE - CONTINUOUS

      or this?

      EXT. WITH MIKE/THE FOREST - CONTINUOUS



      You guys rock
      My preference is neither, if the action is fast-paced. I use shots in this situation. If everything happens in the forest with your character (and pardon the awful action in the example):
      EXT. FOREST - DAY

      Leafy woods in the fall; thick, brilliant with color, and a blanket of fresh, dry leaves to crunch at every footstep.

      MIKE

      struggles to build a campfire. Completely unaware that a short distance away...

      TOM

      Plasters himself against the trunk of a tree like a stalked rabbit.

      MIKE

      Curses at the wet tinder.

      TOM

      Holds his breath as the alien closes in.

      Et cetera. If there is more screen time between the two cuts, then I would go with:

      EXT. FOREST - WITH MIKE

      Large-to-small with setting the scene. Exterior, forest, Mike.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: A question of syntax

        I would probably not put a character's name in a slugline.

        I would probably find way to distinguish bits of forrest.

        So maybe we've got DEEP FOREST and a ROCKY PATH and a FOREST CLEARING, etc.

        And then I'd indicate who was there in the first sentence.

        "Mike stumbles along."

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: A question of syntax

          Cool. My cross cuts thank you

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: A question of syntax

            I guess I'm lazy in these situations because I'll just state we intercut between various locations or characters after I present them in their present location.

            EXT. FIELD - NIGHT

            John sprints across the field.

            EXT. FOREST - NIGHT

            Jane looks around frantically.

            INTERCUT BETWEEN JOHN AND JANE

            John calls out into the darkness.

            Jane freezes when she hears the voice.

            Or whatever but I don't like to clutter with too many slug lines or minislugs if you're going to be doing quick or multiple cuts.
            Quack.

            Writer on a cable drama.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: A question of syntax

              Originally posted by MoviePen View Post
              My preference is neither, if the action is fast-paced. I use shots in this situation. If everything happens in the forest with your character (and pardon the awful action in the example):
              EXT. FOREST - DAY

              Leafy woods in the fall; thick, brilliant with color, and a blanket of fresh, dry leaves to crunch at every footstep.

              MIKE

              struggles to build a campfire. Completely unaware that a short distance away...

              TOM

              Plasters himself against the trunk of a tree like a stalked rabbit.

              MIKE

              Curses at the wet tinder.

              TOM

              Holds his breath as the alien closes in.

              Et cetera. If there is more screen time between the two cuts, then I would go with:

              EXT. FOREST - WITH MIKE

              Large-to-small with setting the scene. Exterior, forest, Mike.
              Personally, I'm more of the opinion of what MoviePen suggests, especially when you're crosscutting action to amp up suspense, tension and pacing. I don't want anything getting in the way of the action. This style is clear, easy, and fast to read-- which is more like what you'd experience in a film.

              When you want to slow things back down, then do so, with your sluglines, your action and dialogue. These peaks and valleys in pacing and tempo are one aspect of good writing, imo, at least in reading the story. In film, it happens naturally. To me, it's the same principal of using shorter sentences when the action is picking up speed.

              I write action and anything that speeds it up, whilst still being clear and concise, is a good thing.

              It's your choice.
              FA4
              "Arguing that you don't care about the right to privacy b/c you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don't care about free speech because you have nothing to say." -- Edward Snowden

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: A question of syntax

                Originally posted by Ronaldinho View Post
                I would probably not put a character's name in a slugline.

                I would probably find way to distinguish bits of forest.

                So maybe we've got DEEP FOREST and a ROCKY PATH and a FOREST CLEARING, etc.

                And then I'd indicate who was there in the first sentence.

                "Mike stumbles along."
                This is what I'd go with, and NMS's advice that it's better to go from general to specific. Moviepen is also correct that if you are going for pace within a scene or sequence then mini-slugs are very effective.
                "Friends make the worst enemies." Frank Underwood

                Comment

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