Character/format question

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  • Character/format question

    If one of my characters names is Carlos, does that mean every scene I must write

    INT. CARLOS' OFFICE - DAY

    Carlos' office is small and messy.

    I feel putting the apostrophe is distracting so must I use it or should I just change the characters name?

    I really don't see too many characters names that end in S in the scripts I been reading and I wonder if that's the reason why.

  • #2
    Re: Character/format question

    If that's the only office in the script, then just

    INT. OFFICE

    If it's the most used office scene but there are also others, still use just OFFICE and find a way to ID the others (i.e. MARKETING OFFICE, BOB'S OFFICE, CONFERENCE ROOM, etc.).

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    • #3
      Re: Character/format question

      Thanks Dangoforth. I wondered why sometimes when reading scripts I would see more generic slugline and you answered it.
      But you didn't answer my question which is do I make everything Carlos' office, cup, car etc. Or do I just change the name of the character to a name that doesn't start with a S.

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      • #4
        Re: Character/format question

        Originally posted by Hitman View Post
        Thanks Dangoforth. I wondered why sometimes when reading scripts I would see more generic slugline and you answered it.
        But you didn't answer my question which is do I make everything Carlos' office, cup, car etc. Or do I just change the name of the character to a name that doesn't start with a S.
        No need to change the name. No need to refer to everything Carlos owns as "Carlos' whatever."

        INT. 1991 CHEVY SEDAN -- DAY

        Carlos sits in his car, twiddling his thumbs.

        INT. OFFICE -- NIGHT

        Carlos picks out his favorite coffee cup. Notices it's chipped. Goes ballistic.

        CARLOS
        (yelling)
        Who the hell chipped my cup?!

        (Personally I don't see why something like a cup needs to be specifically identified as "belonging" to Carlos. Wouldn't the reader just assume it was his if he was drinking from it?)
        STANDARD DISCLAIMER: I'm a wannabe, take whatever I write with a huge grain of salt.

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        • #5
          Re: Character/format question

          I see what you mean. Thanks man.

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          • #6
            Re: Character/format question

            I really don't see too many characters names that end in S in the scripts I been reading and I wonder if that's the reason why.
            Sorry that I missed this question before I left town over two months ago.

            The reason that you do not see many names that end in <s< is that not many names end in <s<. It would be rare and unreasonable for someone to avoid the names <James< or <Carlos< because they end in <s<.

            The real problem here is that the apostrophe makes you feel uncomfortable. And that is because English has a defective possessive case. No absolutely solid rules exist for formation of the possessive. You have some conventions, but they are not true grammatical rules.

            The best form of your original Scene Heading would be:

            INT. CARLOS'S OFFICE

            The use of only an apostrophe to form a possessive (after an s-sound) is best reserved for long names, especially classical ones like Anaxagoras, as in <Anaxagoras' philosophy was, etc.<. By scholarly tradition, some Biblical names are also treated in that way in writing, so that you see <Jesus' disciples<. However, the use of only s+apostrophe for a possessive runs counter to the natural tendency of the English language. Very few people would use <Jesus' disciples< in the spoken language. Most people would say, <Jesus's disciples<.

            You would certainly say, <Carlos's office<, not <Carlos' office<, because the latter would be identical in sound to <Carlo's office< and you would have an ambiguity: Is the name Carlos or Carlo?

            NOTE: However, for plural common nouns ending in <s<, you do add only an apostrophe, as in <his friends' sympathy cards were nice<, where you are talking about more than one friend. (See, I told you that the English possessive was defective!)

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

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            • #7
              Re: Character/format question

              I wouldn't ask punctuation questions on a screenwriting board, lol.

              The internet knows everything:

              http://www.bartleby.com/141/strunk.html#1
              Check out the results of the Valentine's Day short script contest in Writing Exercises forum

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              • #8
                Re: Character/format question

                Asking questions ...

                In general, yes, a screenwriting board is not the best place to ask for answers about grammar and style.

                But the only thing is, on Done Deal Pro ... I really am an expert in these matters. I do not just throw out an opinion. I have an educational background in grammar, style, and language. I can answer any question about grammar and style.

                By the way, no offense taken (or 'offence' in the UK). Just saying.
                Last edited by ComicBent; 10-28-2017, 10:21 PM.

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

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