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Home » Archives » April 2008 » But Go Crazy with the "Frak"s!
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04/13/2008: But Go Crazy with the "Frak"s!

Friend-of-the-Blog Jeff sent me this link which I'm delighted to find references not only an interesting script style, but also a couple mentions of moi-self. Heh!

The issue is the use of earthy expletives in the non-dialog portions of your script. Apparently this is done with frequency and enthusiasm over at Lost. There is some talk in the referenced piece about whether or not this is a good thing. Someone speculates there that I might not approve. Well, it depends. I like a script to have force and energy and enthusiasm. I dislike scripts that read like gas grill assembly instructions. And these certainly look like scripts with verve. If I were on that staff, I think I'd probably have fun varying my style by tossing in a few zesty words.

Friend-of-the-blog Jeff raises the even more important issue, however. What if you're writing a Lost spec? Should you follow the general rule of making it look like a produced script, and thus "fuck" if all up? Or should you avoid the dirty talk?

My inclination is to either refrain, or to split the difference. If you're comfortable doing so, you can certainly write your stage directions with rather more punch than you might otherwise do, perhaps even get profane here and there. But be very careful about going overboard, because while there is little cost to avoiding the profanity, there might be a big one to overdoing it. And I'm not talking about easily offended readers. I don't think that's the hazard. I'm talking about coming across as flippant about the contents of your own script.

Joss never liked it when Buffy was referred to as "camp," because that word suggests a style that doesn't take its characters seriously, and we always took our characters very seriously. Similarly, you don't want to seem to be making fun of all the people and actions in your spec script, and if you think about how a script with flip and exaggerated stage directions might read, I think you'll see how it could easily give that impression.

Lunch: those darn stuffed jalapenos at Jack In The Box again. I can't stay away!


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