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05/03/2007: Narrowly Avoiding Apostrophe
Let's talk about underwear lines. No, that can't be right. Here it is. Let's talk about underlines. You have to be careful with them. Produced scripts usually don't have a lot of them, possibly because actors don't like them. (They're too much like giving an actor a line reading, which actors really don't like.)
Now, in a spec script, you don't have to worry about actors, but you do want to look like a produced script. So you probably don't want to throw too many underlines around all willy-nilly. Besides, underlines can tend to run away with you. Once you start selecting a few words for emphasis, you start measuring every word in the script against that standard. If I underlined "do" in that sentence, how do I not underline "am" in this sentence? (Or, to put it another way, "If I underlined 'do' in that sentence, how do I not underline 'am' in this sentence?")
Here's a little trick if you want to make sure something reads as emphasized, but you don't want to spend an underline: eschew the contraction.
This line can be read with emphasis on the word "got" or "biggest" or "world":
I've got to be the biggest fool in the world.
But this line simply must be read with emphasis on the word "got":
I have got to be the biggest fool in the world.
Neat, huh? It's like a sneaky way of giving the virtual actors of your spec script a virtual line reading.