Murray Hamilton portrayed Mayor Vaughn in two films of the Jaws franchise. And when Quint (Robert Shaw) shows up to a town hall meeting, to offer his unique fishing abilities to the desperate townsfolk of Amity, Vaughn replies with a tepid, "We'll take it under advisement."
As mentioned in a previous post, I've been reading/studying The Hollywood Standard.
And, as mentioned before, there are some formatting and content rules mentioned in the book, with which I don't wholeheartedly agree. Certainly, there are absolute must-follow tricks, but some -- well, I believe they can be fudged, just a little bit, to suit my personal preferences.
But as I work on a rewrite of one of my scripts (being co-penned with my friend Motown Maurice), I have discovered what might end up being a never-before-used, but now will be in constant rotation, trick from The Hollywood Standard.
In the parenthetical piece of the screenplay document, I've always reserved that space for when a character is addressing a specific other character, and that needs to be clear.
For instance: BOB (to Shirley). Bob is addressing a line to Shirley, rather than Doris, who is also in the scene.
And if a character is yelling, or pauses or if a line MUST be read with a particular inflection.
For instance: BOB (sarcastically). Meaning, Bob's line of dialogue could be delivered "regularly", but in this case, it's gotta be sarcastic. Many times, such bits of information are unnecessary, as the tone may be present in the context of the scene. But if it's not...
But based on one of the lessons learned in "The Hollywood Standard", I now know how to use the parenthetical for another purpose, and it is something which will cut back on total line/page count. (I'm always a big fan of cutting back on page count!)
Per the book, you CAN put the tiniest bit of action/description in the parenthetical.
So instead of writing a separate action/description line of "Bob turns to Shirley, before speaking", you can put something like this:
I don't know for certain.
(turns to Shirley)
But I think I love you.
If it's the speaking character's movement (not someone or something else), this is acceptable. And while yes, the parenthetical takes up another line, it's not THREE lines (the action/description and two spaces -- above and below).
Every day, I try to better myself in the craft, and little things like this, which I was either against (because of prior knowledge or coaching), or was completely unaware of -- keep me learning and only serve to improve my work.
So while I am not taking EVERYTHING from The Hollywood Standard as the end-all, be-all law of the land, there are certainly some lessons offered up in the book, which will be "taken under advisement" and perhaps adopted for all future scripts.
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