How to format the speech turning unintelligible in a screenplay

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  • How to format the speech turning unintelligible in a screenplay

    Example: The Pastor:
    We're all here today, in order to... (his speech turns unintelligible, while other characters start doing their things)- how to format it in a film screenplay ? Thanks

  • #2
    Re: How to format the speech turning unintelligible in a screenplay

    Produced screenplays that will show how to format different scenarios are available at www.simplyscripts.com, etc. I'm not telling you to get lost, only that if you post questions here and wait, you may end up waiting, waiting, waiting. Basically, you just have to think, "Where have I seen a movie that had something I'm trying to do," and when you find that screenplay you'll probably get your answer. This of course is in addition to checking your favorite textbook or website source for such basic info.

    Anyway, recently I faced your question (or something like it), and found a produced script that showed me a reasonable solution. Note, too, there are probably 5 different ways to do any one thing.

    Are we talking (1) "garbled speech", or (2) where the speech merely trails off as you move to the important stuff elsewhere in the scene?

    Try this:

    (1) SPEAKER
    Speech (indistinct) speech speech speech
    speech speech speech (indistinct) speech
    speech speech (indistinct) speech speech.

    (2) SPEAKER
    Speech speech speech speech speech speech
    speech speech speech speech speech ...

    That's what you had in your example. However, if it's interrupted and the speech is actually halted, you can do:

    (2) SPEAKER
    Speech speech speech speech speech speech
    speech speech speech speech --
    Last edited by catcon; 05-25-2018, 01:44 PM.

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    • #3
      Re: How to format the speech turning unintelligible in a screenplay

      Originally posted by catcon View Post
      Produced screenplays that will show how to format different scenarios are available at www.simplyscripts.com, etc. I'm not telling you to get lost, only that if you post questions here and wait, you may end up waiting, waiting, waiting. Basically, you just have to think, "Where have I seen a movie that had something I'm trying to do," and when you find that screenplay you'll probably get your answer. This of course is in addition to checking your favorite textbook or website source for such basic info.

      Anyway, recently I faced your question (or something like it), and found a produced script that showed me a reasonable solution. Note, too, there are probably 5 different ways to do any one thing.

      Are we talking (1) "garbled speech", or (2) where the speech merely trails off as you move to the important stuff elsewhere in the scene?

      Try this:

      (1) SPEAKER
      Speech (indistinct) speech speech speech
      speech speech speech (indistinct) speech
      speech speech (indistinct) speech speech.

      (2) SPEAKER
      Speech speech speech speech speech speech
      speech speech speech speech speech ...

      That's what you had in your example. However, if it's interrupted and the speech is actually halted, you can do:

      (2) SPEAKER
      Speech speech speech speech speech speech
      speech speech speech speech --
      Thank you

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: How to format the speech turning unintelligible in a screenplay

        Originally posted by AlexK View Post
        Example: The Pastor:
        We're all here today, in order to... (his speech turns unintelligible, while other characters start doing their things)- how to format it in a film screenplay ? Thanks
        WYSIWYG. Paint the picture for the reader. Write what the camera sees and the audio hears.

        THE PASTOR

        We're all here today to remember the life of Phineas P. Hornswoggle, a man who ...

        The Pastor's voice fades under and continues as two children smirk and giggle at the mention of the man's name.

        FIRST CHILD
        (snickers)
        Hornswoggle?

        SECOND CHILD
        (snorts)
        Phineas?

        Each child holds his hand over his mouth to keep their laughter from bursting out loud. They can't do it.

        THE PASTOR
        Phineas was a kind and generous man, who donated his many millions of dollars to the children of this congregation, the well-behaved children of this—

        CHILD ONE AND CHILD TWO
        (simultaneous outbursts of laughter)
        Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!

        The Pastor glares at the two boys. A muscled-up young Deacon comes, grabs them by their collars, and carries them from their pew. He dangles one from each hand and heads out the door leading down the hallway and into the church administration offices. He drops them in visitor chairs in an office anteroom under the watchful glare of an elderly church secretary with horn-rimmed glasses.

        DEACON
        Disrupting the service.

        The Secretary nods, then glowers at the boys. The Deacon sneers at them from the doorway then leaves.

        The two boys take one look at the secretary, then turn to look at one another. They begin to snicker and snort again but bite their lips instead.
        Last edited by Clint Hill; 05-25-2018, 08:05 PM.
        “There's nothing to rewrite if there's nothing on the page."

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