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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Screenwriting Discussion    Screenwriting Class  ›  Do you write the dialogue under a V.O ? Moderators: George Willson
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The Dark Horse
Posted: February 11th, 2019, 9:37am Report to Moderator
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Hi everyone.

I've just been thinking about this... I have a scene with V.O. and there's suggested dialogue underneath it.

The scene runs like this:
In German, John pleads for the driver to move faster...
MAN: (V.O.) Blah blah.

Should I just the dialogue in, like this...
JOHN
(in German; to Driver)
Move faster please.
MAN: (V.O.) Blah blah.

I can't help but think of the saying "if it's not on the page, then it's not on the stage".

It's a little thing but little things are always big things...


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The Dark Horse  -  February 11th, 2019, 9:53am
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The Dark Horse
Posted: February 11th, 2019, 9:53am Report to Moderator
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Just had a quick look at some spec screenplays...

I probably can get away with the first one.

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FrankM
Posted: February 11th, 2019, 11:13am Report to Moderator
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If you don't want the audience to hear what John actually says, perhaps because of battle sounds or loud foreground music then you use the abbreviation MOS.

John pleads MOS with the driver to move faster.
MAN (V.O.)
Blah blah.


If you want audience members who can lipread German to know what he said, then you can be a bit more specific.

MOS, John pleads in German with the driver to move faster.
MAN (V.O.)
Blah blah.


But in that case you might want to specify exactly what he says, in which case you're back into dialogue.

John pleads with the driver, but cannot be heard over the explosions.

JOHN
(in German)
Please move faster!

MAN (V.O.)
Blah blah.



Family feature: Who Wants to Be a Princess? (6/2019)
Horror anthology/feature: Glass House (2/2019)
Sci-Fi shorts: Timmy (7/2019) and Ripple Effect (8/2019)
Comedy short: Feedback (2/2019)
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The Dark Horse
Posted: February 11th, 2019, 11:34am Report to Moderator
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Oh right. I had no idea about MOS. Well - I think I'll just go with how I had it.

The only thing that worried me is that it's in German. But him pleading with the driver doesn't seem that necessary to put into dialogue.

Also - nice call with the explosions/gunfire. I'll have to use that ha.
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FrankM
Posted: February 11th, 2019, 11:50am Report to Moderator
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It depends on the needs of the story, and somewhat why we can't hear him. The reason for not hearing John can vary depending on the genre.

John looks impatiently as other cars pass the taxi.

JOHN
Bitte geh schneller.
(subtitles)
Please go faster.

The TAXI DRIVER (55) shrugs. He doesn't care.

John taps on the glass, opens his mouth again.

Taxi Driver turns up Turkish music on the radio as John pleads MOS with the driver.

TAXI DRIVER (V.O.)
Blah blah.



Family feature: Who Wants to Be a Princess? (6/2019)
Horror anthology/feature: Glass House (2/2019)
Sci-Fi shorts: Timmy (7/2019) and Ripple Effect (8/2019)
Comedy short: Feedback (2/2019)
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