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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Screenwriting Discussion    Screenwriting Class  ›  Writing "flowery" action versus direction action Moderators: George Willson
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  Author    Writing "flowery" action versus direction action  (currently 802 views)
Steven
Posted: August 6th, 2019, 11:28am Report to Moderator
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By "flowery" I mean action lines that include a bit of style and even things that aren't meant to be filmed.

The most stark contrast I could come up with would be the script for Alien and the script for Lethal Weapon.

I know there's no right answer to this, and I think each method of writing has its benefit, but there's a huge divide among screenwriters. Some people will say that your action lines are too long or that they include pieces which aren't able to be filmed...but what if you're trying to paint a picture for the people acting in the thing, or even writing with the script reader in mind?


Alien - https://www.dailyscript.com/scripts/alien_shooting.html

Lethal Weapon - http://www.screenplay.com/downloads/scripts/Lethal%20Weapon.pdf
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Dustin
Posted: August 6th, 2019, 1:04pm Report to Moderator
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Action speaks louder...

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Forget everybody else... find your own balance. It's all about the right balance. You need a little of this, a pinch of that...

Writers spend so long worrying about the right thing to do, they never do anything else.




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Steven
Posted: August 6th, 2019, 1:08pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Dustin
Forget everybody else... find your own balance. It's all about the right balance. You need a little of this, a pinch of that...

Writers spend so long worrying about the right thing to do, they never do anything else.




Right. I'm not asking for advice or anything, just curious on how people around here feel about these two approaches and why they feel that way.
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Dustin
Posted: August 6th, 2019, 3:01pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients


Action speaks louder...

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Quoted from Steven


Right. I'm not asking for advice or anything, just curious on how people around here feel about these two approaches and why they feel that way.


That is how I feel about the 'two approaches' as you call them. I don't know why they have to be separated. A good script will contain instances of both.

If it's too much, it will be forced, and that is an instance of when it is bad. What anybody thinks about one or the other is a pointless conversation.


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Steven
Posted: August 6th, 2019, 3:26pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Dustin


That is how I feel about the 'two approaches' as you call them. I don't know why they have to be separated. A good script will contain instances of both.

If it's too much, it will be forced, and that is an instance of when it is bad. What anybody thinks about one or the other is a pointless conversation.


A pointless conversation? How exactly is it pointless? Obviously most people go about action lines using both methods...but there are those -- like the examples provided -- who deliberately chose to write in a specific fashion.

Alien is considered on of the best screenplays of all time. Lethal Weapon is considered one of the best screenplays of all time, yet they couldn't differ more from a formatting standpoint.

If you feel he conversation isn't warranted, don't take part in the conversation. I'm simply trying to spark up a bit of discussion while I'm sitting here at work.
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Dustin
Posted: August 6th, 2019, 4:31pm Report to Moderator
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Action speaks louder...

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Quoted from Steven


A pointless conversation? How exactly is it pointless? Obviously most people go about action lines using both methods...but there are those -- like the examples provided -- who deliberately chose to write in a specific fashion.

Alien is considered on of the best screenplays of all time. Lethal Weapon is considered one of the best screenplays of all time, yet they couldn't differ more from a formatting standpoint.

If you feel he conversation isn't warranted, don't take part in the conversation. I'm simply trying to spark up a bit of discussion while I'm sitting here at work.


I just explained how it is pointless. We write in a fashion that suits the story. It's just persona... or voice.


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eldave1
Posted: August 6th, 2019, 7:39pm Report to Moderator
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IMO.

Both styles work if written well. Writers have succeeded with both styles. For any individual writer, it really depends on their skill sets and they should be using a style fits their skill set.

What I think all writers should avoid is being pedestrian. By that I mean using boring nouns and verbs. e.g., Dave walks towards the ocean is pedestrian. Dave bolts towards the ocean, or Dave saunters towards the ocean gives the line more pop/meaning. IMO that goes further in making a read engaging then the particular style used.



My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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StevenClark
Posted: August 7th, 2019, 6:35am Report to Moderator
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I used to use flowery description when I started writing, but got away from it and go a little more straightforward. Dustinís right, though. So is Dave. Itís a pinch of this, a dash of that. We just have to make the darned thing readable. Iíve read scripts on here that take flowery to another level and itís annoying. Worse than that itís a chore to read. So right, there is a balance we need to find.


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Dreamscale
Posted: August 7th, 2019, 9:32am Report to Moderator
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Since there's so little to discuss here lately, I'll bite.

I've said this so many times, but I'm sure I'll never stop saying it either.

First of all, peeps shouldn't take scripts from over 40 years ago as an example of how to write.  It just doesn't make any sense.  Things have changed...and changed again, and again, and again.  Writing is so much easier now, as we have things available now that writers didn't even dream of.

Secondly, using Alien for an example is just plain crazy.  If you know the history of this script, you'll know that there were many hands involved, many drafts and rewrites, and many, many inspirations and references.

You have no idea who wrote what pieces of whatever draft you posted or read.

But, in answer to your question, overly flowery is too flowery.  Overly dull is too dull.

Listen to Maren Morris, and "Meet me in the Middle".  


To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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Steven
Posted: August 7th, 2019, 9:36am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Dreamscale
Since there's so little to discuss here lately, I'll bite.

I've said this so many times, but I'm sure I'll never stop saying it either.

First of all, peeps shouldn't take scripts from over 40 years ago as an example of how to write.  It just doesn't make any sense.  Things have changed...and changed again, and again, and again.  Writing is so much easier now, as we have things available now that writers didn't even dream of.

Secondly, using Alien for an example is just plain crazy.  If you know the history of this script, you'll know that there were many hands involved, many drafts and rewrites, and many, many inspirations and references.

You have no idea who wrote what pieces of whatever draft you posted or read.

But, in answer to your question, overly flowery is too flowery.  Overly dull is too dull.

Listen to Maren Morris, and "Meet me in the Middle".  


I was just thinking of the two most drastic examples of each writing style, that I know of, so I made a post.

I think a lot of this is just personal preference. I'm much more inclined to read a screenplay that offers more than "he does this and then does that" type action lines. But I know there are people who like to just get to the point and not have to interpret action lines.
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LC
Posted: August 7th, 2019, 10:01am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Dreamscale
... Things have changed...and changed again, and again, and again.  Writing is so much easier now, as we have things available now that writers didn't even dream of...

What, like the Internet? And how is it easier? Elaborate if you please. Btw, I'm not saying I disagree.


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Steven
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Quoted from LC

What, like the Internet? And how is it easier? Elaborate if you please. Btw, I'm not saying I disagree.


Software probably.
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eldave1
Posted: August 7th, 2019, 11:02am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Dreamscale
Since there's so little to discuss here lately, I'll bite.

But, in answer to your question, overly flowery is too flowery.  Overly dull is too dull.



Yep


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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Dreamscale
Posted: August 7th, 2019, 11:14am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from LC
What, like the Internet? And how is it easier? Elaborate if you please. Btw, I'm not saying I disagree.


Sure.  The Internet provides examples of basically everything anyone would ever want to see and know.  30 years ago, tracking down any draft of a screenplay was very difficult.  Outside of screenwriting classes, even trying to find out what a wrylie is, was unheard of.

Writing software does basically everything you need to write a script, including spellchecking - why peeps have so much trouble with typos is just way beyond my understanding.

As everyone loves to say, "story is king", but then again, it comes down to personal preference.  You cannot please everyone, all the time.

The reason I'm so adamant about certain things is because certain things just make sense and others don't.

I read a pretty well written horror short here on SS the other day.  I didn't comment because peeps don't want to hear my thoughts anymore, but if I did comment, I would have said that it was way overwritten, with way too much completely unnecessary fluff, which is why it clocked in over 20 pages.  And even at over 20 pages, characters were nonexistent.

Peeps just worry way too much about the stuff that really doesn't matter and has no place in a Spec Script, as far as I'm concerned.





To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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Dustin
Posted: August 7th, 2019, 3:21pm Report to Moderator
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Action speaks louder...

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The internet makes research a lot easier. I remember having to go to the library and read books that I wasn't allowed to take home. Now, that information is at my fingertips almost anywhere I happen to be in the world (that has internet).


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