Writers FAQ


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Erik

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Writers FAQ
« on: May 08, 2008, 10:54:17 AM »
Instead of making a topic for every question I have, I thought it would be better to make one topic for all questions of everyone about writing.

Hear are 2 questions of me:

In many movies I can find the word 'Beat'. I can't figure out what it means. Though I have a feeling that it means a short silence. Can someone confirm that, or tell me the real meaning?

When do you use 'cut to' and when 'dissolve to'. I also had a feeling with this: Cut to means that you're going to a new scene, which follows directly after the last scene. Dissolve to is when there is a time jump or a huge change of set. (Like from the dessert, directly to the city or something)

Am I right with that?

I will have more questions after this, but not for now. If anyone else has any questions, ask them. When this topic has become bigger, maybe your question is already asked by someone. Maybe you can search this topic for your answer first.

Cheers!
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MrStone

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Re: Writers FAQ
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2008, 12:31:16 AM »
The industry trends are changing....

first of all - as a writer, don't use cut to or dissolve to anymore..those are director's notes or camera directions.

beats are unspecified lengths of time, but it almost always denotes a pause (if you're talking about actual script speak).  For example:

Richard looks back to his wife.  She raises her head up from devouring the ice cream.

Beat.

She smiles with shame.

it's just a delay.  But again, don't go too crazy with that either - it can be seen as camera direction or editing notes...just try to make the script as close to the movie experience as possible...without having to read stuff like "Camera swivels..." and "CUT TO:"

the most recent discussions i've heard have been that the trend for the writer's original script is to drop these..they'll be added in later when the director gets a hold of it.


Mr_Glass.1

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Re: Writers FAQ
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2008, 08:21:46 AM »
Interesting notes MrStone, thanks for the info.  Here's a style question, all of the scripts I've read have been from 80-110 pages, but they're typed up weird, like one sentence will be spread over two line, with only a couple words on each line, and there are huge gaps between people speaking.  Why is that, the way I write scripts up, maybe it's the format I use my script will only end up being about 60 pages.
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MrStone

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Re: Writers FAQ
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2008, 10:43:22 PM »
Interesting notes MrStone, thanks for the info.  Here's a style question, all of the scripts I've read have been from 80-110 pages, but they're typed up weird, like one sentence will be spread over two line, with only a couple words on each line, and there are huge gaps between people speaking.  Why is that, the way I write scripts up, maybe it's the format I use my script will only end up being about 60 pages.

I'm kind of confused about what you're asking.  Most scripts run from that range you're talking about.  That is the industry standard.  On whole, the script length should average out to one page per minute.  you always use Courier 12 pt font with special formatting for dialogue separate from scene descritption.

for example...the name of the person speaking and their dialogue should NOT be on the same line like this:

David:  Hello?
Sarah:  Yes, I am here.

It needs to be like this:

                      DAVID
           Hello?

                      SARAH
           Yes, I am here.

the formatting is specifically designed to match actual run time and leave space side for brad binding.

does this answer your question?


Mr_Glass.1

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Re: Writers FAQ
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2008, 05:43:54 PM »
Ahh, got you, that's a big help, now it makes sense. 
I see the world Lucius Hunt, just not the way you see it.


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Rohan

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Re: Writers FAQ
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2008, 02:37:32 PM »
Mrstone is right. Speaking of 'Cut to' and 'Dissolve to' I use it on my script. Makes it lot easier for a reader, whats going on on the screen.

Speaking of 'Beat'. Mrstone is again right. But I strongly encourage you not to use it. You can use it, but instead do it like this.

Richard looks back to his wife.  She raises her head up from devouring the ice cream.

Richard moves her hair in in the back of her ear.

She smiles with shame.

Not using the BEAT, the reader enjoys it more. The reader will be a manager,director,producer and agent.

Rohan

Erik

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Re: Writers FAQ
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2008, 04:04:14 PM »
Alright, the 'Beat' is pretty clear. I will erase them from my scripts.

But here:
Mrstone is right. Speaking of 'Cut to' and 'Dissolve to' I use it on my script. Makes it lot easier for a reader, whats going on on the screen.
You and MrStone are saying something different. You use the 'Cut' and 'Dissolve to' notes, and MrStone doesn't. For myself, I like it more when those are mentioned in the script instead of leaving them out. Just like you said, it makes it a lot easier for the reader.
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Mr_Glass.1

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Re: Writers FAQ
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2008, 07:32:52 PM »
Yea, thanks for the info Rohan.
I see the world Lucius Hunt, just not the way you see it.


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MrStone

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Re: Writers FAQ
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2008, 12:45:53 AM »
Alright, the 'Beat' is pretty clear. I will erase them from my scripts.

But here:
Mrstone is right. Speaking of 'Cut to' and 'Dissolve to' I use it on my script. Makes it lot easier for a reader, whats going on on the screen.
You and MrStone are saying something different. You use the 'Cut' and 'Dissolve to' notes, and MrStone doesn't. For myself, I like it more when those are mentioned in the script instead of leaving them out. Just like you said, it makes it a lot easier for the reader.

We are saying different things, however, at the same time, new screenwriters need to realize that you can write the script however you want.  "CUT TO" and "DISSOLVE TO" are fine and are still used.  But, they do not always make it easier for the reader.  The point in writing your script is not to create a masterpiece, but to create the document that will make a masterpiece.

IMO, CUT TO can be used to show a quick cut when timing with the very next scene is crucial. 

A good example of this is a humorous set up where in scene a - the character says there is no way they will do a certain thing...and CUT TO: the scene where they're doing it.

your goal as the writer is to make the reader forget that their reading.  That's why I advocate not using them.  If you write it well enough, you won't have to give those types of directions.

about "beat" Rohan is right.  If a writer can emphasize the same emotional impact without it - then don't use it at all.  actor's tend to see it as directions - and sometimes they don't like that.

so what have we learned:

some techniques are optional but the goal is always to lure the 'all-too-busy executive' into reading your script and feeling it as a movie, not as a script.

Mr_Glass.1

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Re: Writers FAQ
« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2008, 08:45:25 AM »
Allright, that's interesting, now I'm going to view it slightly more as a short story, though I guess 100 pages would be a bit of a long story.
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Erik

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Re: Writers FAQ
« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2008, 12:16:47 PM »
Alright, this helps me!
@ Mr_Glass.1: 100 pages wil be around 100 minutes film. I've checked it with scripts like War Of The Worlds.
The script was 112 pages, the movie was 112 minutes!
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Mr_Glass.1

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Re: Writers FAQ
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2008, 08:59:56 AM »
Sweet, nice find Erik. :D
I see the world Lucius Hunt, just not the way you see it.


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Rohan

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Re: Writers FAQ
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2008, 06:50:37 PM »
I didn't knew actually new writers don't use CUT TO: - DISSOLVE TO:
and in my script, I have to use it, i am getting used to it.

Rohan

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Re: Writers FAQ
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2008, 07:25:45 PM »
Of course, if you are shooting your own script, anything goes.  I don't plan on selling anything I write (I make them or plan on making them myself), so my scripts are full of directorial and editorial cues.

MrStone

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Re: Writers FAQ
« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2008, 07:42:15 AM »
Of course, if you are shooting your own script, anything goes.  I don't plan on selling anything I write (I make them or plan on making them myself), so my scripts are full of directorial and editorial cues.

that's true...night and other writer/directors get away with a lot more of what they want to do...because it is them who ultimately makes the film...

and night beign the producer/writer/director of every movie he does puts his work into his own hands and is touched a lot less than other scripts..atleast we are getting HIS ideas, which is why i think his ideas are so good.