It's been so long since I updated this blog, I almost forgot how to log in. But now that I've remembered, I'll try to be better about posting notes here.
It's been busy here at Reader Ready, thanks to all of the competition deadlines. I even managed to finish my own script and enter it into a few of the contests. Good luck to everyone who is now sitting on pins and needles waiting for the announcements!
While I was proofreading/editing all of those scripts, I tried to jot down some common issues I saw. Here are the top three issues I commented on in scripts during the months of April and May.
1. Use of O.S. A lot of clients "direct" their scenes by telling the reader when they are picturing a close up shot. For example, I saw this set up in a lot of scripts:
INT. DINING ROOM - NIGHT
Marge, Scott and Ted attack a lasagna.
Ted crams an entire piece into his mouth.
Ted, you're gonna choke.
I understand why someone might try to say that Scott is O.S. The image of Ted cramming a piece of lasagna into his mouth seems to imply a close up. However, our header is INT. DINING ROOM, and Scott is still in the dining room. He hasn't physically left the scene, so under a wide shot, he would be speaking on camera. And the director might choose to use the wide shot of this scene so that the audience can see the other characters' disgust. So there's no need for O.S. in this type of scenario - it's the writer editing the film rather than advancing the story.
2. Sentence structure. A very common sentence structure I've run across is:
Marge looks at Ted, smiling.
This sentence could be misconstrued. The writer means to imply that Marge is smiling, but it could just as easily be Ted who's sporting the grin. Why not write:
Marge, smiling, looks at Ted.
3. Use of CONTINUEDS. This is a setting in many software programs. Some writers have turned it off completely, which makes it hard to follow dialogue that jumps from the bottom of one page to the top of the next, particularly if the character name setting is also turned off. On the other hand, there's no reason to use the CONT'D function anymore when a character speaks, performs an action and then speaks again, such as in:
I wanted to tell you earlier.
Mike grabs Patty's hands in his.
But I was afraid.
Many software programs have a default setting where Mike's second line would say CONT'D. However, that usage isn't necessary.
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