Using BOLD in spec scripts

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  • Using BOLD in spec scripts

    So I read the screenplay to "The Girl on the Train" and it extensively uses BOLD within it.

    It bolds all scene headers. It also bolds multiple times intra-scene transitions as well as some action items.

    Examples:

    Action:
    There's a BANGING!

    --She types "EVIE,- and then ENTER. A message POPS UP:
    "PASSWORD INCORRECT.-

    Anna tries again: "ANNA,- and presses ENTER. The same
    "PASSWORD INCORRECT- message pops up.

    Something occurs to Anna. She downs the remaining wine.

    She takes a deep breath to calm her nerves, then...

    ...She types "RACHEL.- She hesitates a beat. She sighs, then
    hits ENTER. This time, she's relieved when she is met with
    the "PASSWORD INCORRECT- message.


    Scene headings:
    INT. TOM AND ANNA'S FAMILY ROOM - LATER THAT DAY

    INT. DR. KAMAL ABDIC'S OFFICE - THE NEXT DAY

    MEGAN'S MEMORY: Water seeps through the ceiling of a hunting
    cabin as it rains outside. The much younger Megan is asleep
    in the tub.

    BACK IN DR. ABDIC'S HOUSE: Megan continues her story.

    MEGAN'S MEMORY: Megan stirs awake in the tub.

    BACK IN DR. ABDIC'S HOUSE: Megan breaks down.

    And Titles:

    CUT TO:
    Title: 1 MONTH AGO


    Character Intros:

    INSERT iPAD SCREEN: A picture of Dr. Kamal Abdic.

    In the living room stands a female cop, DETECTIVE RILEY, and
    her partner, DETECTIVE GASKILL, both staring back at Rachel.

    Inserts:

    Detective Riley shows Rachel a PHOTO OF MEGAN.

    BOLD is used all over the script.

    I had always been warned against using BOLD and Italics.

    Is it something that comes INTO play when a script is pushed to shooting/production status?
    You know Jill you remind me of my mother. She was the biggest whore in Alameda and the finest woman that ever lived. Whoever my father was, for an hour or for a month, he must have been a happy man.

  • #2
    Re: Using BOLD in spec scripts.

    Trend now is to use bold scene headers, as I understand it.

    Craig Mazin mentioned on podcast he uses bold scene headers.

    I started doing it and it seems to pull the eye down the page faster.

    Not sure that it makes a lot of difference.

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    • #3
      Re: Using BOLD in spec scripts.

      Bold sluglines is old school - something they did when they wrote screenplays on typewriters. Making a comeback.

      I do it.

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

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Using BOLD in spec scripts.

        Originally posted by wcmartell View Post
        Bold sluglines is old school - something they did when they wrote screenplays on typewriters. Making a comeback.

        I do it.

        - Bill
        I do, too.
        "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Using BOLD in spec scripts.

          Originally posted by finalact4 View Post
          I do, too.
          Then isn't there a tendency for the eye to jump forward?
          "I am the story itself; its source, its voice, its music."
          - Clive Barker, Galilee

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Using BOLD in spec scripts

            Just to get it out of the way, I will state that I can sign on for the use of bold Scene Headings, if you have a real hankering to do it. I do not personally want to do it, but I do not hate the practice, and who cares what I think anyway?

            But as for scattering bold text and BOLD CAPS throughout the script, I would say no. All of this gets out of hand, and soon you have a real mess. You may have some times when it would be helpful, but I cannot think of any.

            "The fact that you have seen professionals write poorly is no reason for you to imitate them." - ComicBent.

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            • #7
              Re: Using BOLD in spec scripts

              I don't tend to do anything gimmicky in my scripts. No CAPS dotted throughout etc. That being said I just tried the bold scene headers thing and think I can get on board with it.

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              • #8
                Re: Using BOLD in spec scripts.

                Originally posted by wcmartell View Post
                Bold sluglines is old school - something they did when they wrote screenplays on typewriters. Making a comeback.

                I do it.

                - Bill
                It's been a long time since I used a typewriter, but I don't remember bold type on a typewriter. Maybe some of the fancier ones - like an IBM Selectric - had it, but not the cheaper ones I used.

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                • #9

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                  • #10
                    Re: Using BOLD in spec scripts

                    I find excessive use of bold in screenplays is rarely as interesting or useful as the writer thinks it's going to be. Ditto underline or all-caps. The occasional use can be helpful or interesting.

                    Too much and it feels like the writer is trying to force intensity or excitement that isn't in the words themselves.

                    I bold sluglines myself - I like the way they break up the page - but beyond that I'm very parsimonious with that kind of stuff. I might all-cap a dozen words in a script, and underline a few more, and I don' use bold for emphasis, myself.

                    But YMMV.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Using BOLD in spec scripts

                      Thanks all for the replies. Any other thoughts much appreciated as well. I may start to adopt it for the sluglines at least.
                      You know Jill you remind me of my mother. She was the biggest whore in Alameda and the finest woman that ever lived. Whoever my father was, for an hour or for a month, he must have been a happy man.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Using BOLD in spec scripts

                        Yeah, I started to ask Bill Martell about the bold on a typewriter, but I just let it go.

                        I am an old guy, and I remember the typewriter days all too well. Kenklmn is right. You only had one effective way to make something bold. It was to change the "font ball" on an IBM Selectric. (A crude method was to type over the same characters two or three times until they looked kind of bold. But that was primitive.)

                        I did not even think about the IBM Selectric when I read Bill's remark. I did not think about it because almost no "private individuals" had an IBM Selectric except for some professional typists.

                        And, now, a digression ... The machines were expensive. I was working for the government in the year - well, a long time ago. The IBM guy came around to do something in regard to the IBM Selectrics. I asked him about buying one. The cost was about $800, which in today's dollars would be $4000 (I checked with an inflation calculator). But, even worse, he conveyed to me that for me to buy one as an individual was irregular. I got the feeling that the usual procedure was that IBM sold machines to businesses. It would take some time to arrange for a purchase like the one that I wanted to make. It has been a long time, but I think he said it would take six weeks, and he really did not act very sure about that.

                        The take-home message is that very few writers had IBM Selectrics. In fact, if we did not have computers now, I would not really want an IBM Selectric anymore. They made a horrible, loud clacking sound; the print on the platen was a little bit on the underside, so that you could read it, but it still looked peculiar; and the Courier print was thin, just like Courier New on computers today. (In fact, Courier New was based on the Courier of the Selectric.)

                        "The fact that you have seen professionals write poorly is no reason for you to imitate them." - ComicBent.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Using BOLD in spec scripts.

                          Originally posted by TwoBrad Bradley View Post
                          Then isn't there a tendency for the eye to jump forward?
                          I think, more times than not, that it brings attention to the actual slugline, instead of the reader glossing past it.

                          But, it could also be seen as drawing your eye down the page with your peripheral vision. Sure.
                          "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

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                          • #14
                            Re: Using BOLD in spec scripts

                            You used to bold on manual typewriters by going back and typing over the original text. The slight mismatch would bold the words.

                            Bold slugs used to be rare; they're much more common now. They certainly aren't necessary, but if I'm not putting an extra space between scenes, I like the bolding to help separate scenes.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Using BOLD in spec scripts

                              I started to bold my scene headings a few years ago and have been doing it since.

                              The only other place I bold are in location SUPERS. But that's me.

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