Mentioning other movies in your script...

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  • Mentioning other movies in your script...

    Is it really all that awful to refer to other movies in your spec script?
    Does it scream amateur?

    Even though it is done quite often in produced films and TV shows.

    Or it kicks the reader out of the realm of your movie.

    What are you thoughts and feelings?
    Faster would be better! ~ Capt. Malcolm Reynolds

  • #2
    Re: Mentioning other movies in your script...

    It really depends. Like so many other things in screenwriting, if it is done well and properly motivated, then it will work and be fine.

    If not, it screams amateur and you look like an ass.

    If there is one thing as a reader I would say definitely don't do, it would be for characters to compare what's happening to them in the movie to another movie. For example, too often in bad scripts, people will try to make jokes and say things like "this is just like a bad movie" or "this same thing happened in SAW, isn't that weird" (seriously they do).

    There is a difference between doing that and having a character refer to a movie like star wars and make a joke about using the jedi mind trick or something along those lines. My last script was a prison comedy and one of the characters talked about shawshank redemption and made a few jokes about it, but I made sure not to do it to death and it went over fine.

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    • #3
      Re: Mentioning other movies in your script...

      I would only do it if it's a film that's most likely going to permanently stay in the public consciousness... and still I would avoid doing it unless there's a really good reason. It's really easy to pulls a reader out of a script or pulls an audience out of a film by having the characters talk about movies.

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      • #4
        Re: Mentioning other movies in your script...

        What I had in mind was my protag, a school teacher, chastise his student for using a movie and a character in the movie as basis for his paper on archeology.



        Something like:



        TEACHER



        Dr. Daniel Jackson and SG1 as your source material.





        Something like that.
        Faster would be better! ~ Capt. Malcolm Reynolds

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        • #5
          Re: Mentioning other movies in your script...

          See, for me, Hassan's joke in his script isn't funny at all, because it's dependant on a source material that I am not familiar with... although after thinking about it a little I can be like "oh, right, I think that's about that Stargate show that I've never seen." It'd take me out of the story as I'm trying to figure out what the joke means, and that'd be the case for most people, especially as time goes on and that show becomes more and more obscure.

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          • #6
            Re: Mentioning other movies in your script...





            Faster would be better! ~ Capt. Malcolm Reynolds

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            • #7
              Re: Mentioning other movies in your script...

              I think if you reference a film or tv show in a script it should be well known and common place in American pop culture. Sort of how a line from something like Star Wars or Taxi Driver is universally known and a line (or character) from SG1 is not.

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              • #8
                Re: Mentioning other movies in your script...

                Well, I'm just saying that you limit your audience, if just for one joke, when you use relatively obscure or timely references. In twenty years, most people who watched your film would be baffled by that joke.

                It's not particularly important because, I mean, it's only one joke in a script. But I think it's just good to focus on things that are going to be timeless.

                Of course, if you take that too far, you can fall into the trap of trying to write for the stupidest people in the audience so that everyone understands every line. But there's a difference between people not knowing what you mean when one character compares another to Sisyphus (as many people will understand that joke now as will in 2050) and if a character compares another to a character to William Hung (who will be vaguely remembered at best a decade from now).

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                • #9
                  Re: Mentioning other movies in your script...



                  Faster would be better! ~ Capt. Malcolm Reynolds

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                  • #10
                    Re: Mentioning other movies in your script...

                    Just please, please don't do, "Are you talkin' to me?"
                    Quantum Mechanics is God's way of making sure we never really know what's going on.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Mentioning other movies in your script...

                      Originally posted by Bargaintuan
                      Just please, please don't do, "Are you talkin' to me?"
                      Who?



                      Faster would be better! ~ Capt. Malcolm Reynolds

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                      • #12
                        Re: Mentioning other movies in your script...

                        I don't like the mention of other movies in a script - it often draws an unfavourable comparison. Plus, it takes you out of the story, reminding you that you're reading a moviescript.

                        Hassan, please pick a font and stick with it
                        alipali
                        Regular
                        Last edited by alipali; 05-26-2005, 12:17 PM.
                        ENNIS spits in the palm of his hand, puts it on himself.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Mentioning other movies in your script...

                          I've done this to good effect in one script. The character is an inner city Latino who knows very little about the subject he's discussing so he resorts to a movie quote to make his point. A movie quote from a very popular movie in the Latino community - Scarface. The subtext being that he doesn't have enough self respect as a Latino to take issue with the fact that the Cuban was played by an Italian ... and by association, that all "others" are the same to him whether they're Cuban or Dominican or Italian or German.

                          Of course, this was for an independent feature, so your mileage may vary if you're interested in writing Hollywood specs.
                          http://confoundedfilms.com

                          http://www.myspace.com/confoundedfilms

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                          • #14
                            Re: Mentioning other movies in your script...

                            Originally posted by alipali
                            Hassan, please pick a font and stick with it
                            What?

                            You talkin' to me?
                            Faster would be better! ~ Capt. Malcolm Reynolds

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                            • #15
                              Re: Mentioning other movies in your script...

                              Hey B1tches,

                              If you're going to make pop culture references in your script, you need to do it consistently throughout. Because if you don't, like a previous poster mentioned, it can be jarring and take you out your movie's "universe." By doing so consistently, you silently establish the particular tone that eases people into subconciously thinking and accepting, "Okay, these characters live in a world that is referenced by pop culture," like in the films of Tarantino, Kevin Smith, and Noah Baumbach.

                              I love you Tinkerbell!

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