Punctuation…It’s now been a few weeks that I have not written on ” how to write a screenplay “. It is true, I focused more on how to make a film, or the technique and you’ll agree with me : it takes for everyone ;o). So I decided to try to alternate from today.
The e-mail of a user (it will surely ;o)) gave me the idea of this article : the punctuation. Since the beginning, I suggest you send me a request, via the contact tab, if you want me to read your stories and get feedback in order to improve and highlight errors of structure and characters. If you have already done it, you know that I particularly want to the presentation.
For those who don’t know it yet : if you send me your scenario and that it is not properly presented, I will return to you a mail asking you to make the necessary corrections, under penalty of never being read.
I receive a request, via the contact tab, and then an email containing the scenario of one of you. At first glance, the file sent is a séquencier… but very quickly I noticed in the dialogues (which have nothing to do there ;o)). So I decide to start reading ! And there, amazed ! All the text is written to the kilometer, that is to say that there is no punctuation, no dots, commas, etc…
THE READING IS THUS IMPOSSIBLE !
ATTENTION ! I’m not trying to ridicule ! This user is not the only one to do this. I mention this today because the punctuation, the less the lack of punctuation, or the wrong use of punctuation, it touches a lot of people. And your servant is not spared. ;o)
So here is this article that will, I hope, the clocks to the hour or at least the points and commas in their place. And secretly, I also hope that one or more of you will think of me the shortly after they will be in front of their computer, head full of ideas. If only one of you back to its punctuation, then the bet will have been won ;o)
You say also that the punctuation is there to serve your story , and thanks to her, what you tell them will not be as stronger or better interpreted (the condition of using it as it should be).
Don’t worry, I’m going to be the simplest possible ;o)
Punctuation what is it ?
Punctuation marks give valuable indications for the reading and the understanding of the text. They mark the pauses and thees inflections of the voice in reading and regulate the relations between the proposals and the ideas. Without punctuation, your scenario has no relief and remains as flat as a …(I leave you to find your favorite expression ;o)).
But be careful ! Punctuation that is misplaced or missing can lead to the opposite direction. Here are some examples of punctuation :
The point : Each sentence begins with a capital letter and ends with a point.
Ex : It is a scenario that is easy to read.
The comma : It separates elements of the same nature and allows you to make short breaks in long phrases.
Ex : In your scenario, there is neither point nor comma, or uppercase letter.
The question mark : It marks a question
Ex : is The punctuation correct ?
The exclamation mark : It marks a feeling such as anger, contentment, joy, surprise etc…
Ex : What a lovely story !
The points of suspension : They are going by 3 and mark a sentence unfinished caused by the emotion, the surprise, etc…
Ex : One day I will be famous…
The dash and the quotation marks : They are when someone speaks, to open and close a dialog.
Ex : The man stopped to my side and asked me :
-” Have you the time ? “
Therefore, the punctuation exists so that the reader understands : the intonation, the pauses, the meaning and the logical links.
As you already know that a punctuation mark does not give the same meaning to the phrases. Because of this, this punctuation can change everything.
– Mom is there. (affirmative)
– Mom is there ? (interrogative)
– Mom is here ! (exclamative)
– Mom is there … (injunctive)
There, in a nutshell, an example of séquencier that you sent me…without punctuation
Int night car Parking : A woman speaks to her son (luke) she hands him the jack and he said that normally it is his father who should do it but as it is not there it is up to him to change the wheel a homeless person comes in and says to the mother he bit the help. The mother hesitates, but accepts the help of the sfd luke gets out of the mother gives the jack to the sdf, the parking lot is empty luc approach for help without shed. The sdf looks up the mother dismisses as a precaution, his son luke emerges and kneels down in the sdf loan for the help
Let’s be clear, I do not judge the merits ! We agree to say that this text is unreadable, incomprehensible. In addition, write like this distorts the sense and the rhythm ! It should not be forgotten that the punctuation (not to mention the spelling) allows a certain fluidity and a unconscious image.
Let’s see what this text could give it with the punctuation and a few corrections of spelling.
Sequence XX : Int – Parking lot-Night
A woman (EVELYNE) speaks to his son (LUKE). She hands him the jack and he said that normally it is the role of his father, but as it is not there, it is up to him to change the wheel.
A homeless person comes in and offers to help. She hesitates but eventually accepts. Luke gets out of the way, the mother gives jack the sdf.
The parking lot is deserted. Luke approached the man for help. The sdf looks up at Luke. Evelyne dismisses his son as a precaution but he arises and kneels close to the sdf for help.
Is what you feel the difference ? The text isn’t it easier to read ? Obviously that yes. The point helps to finish the sentence, the commas allow for moments of breath.
It is true that I also changed some formulations and repetitions, sometimes a bit heavy.
You should not hesitate to use synonyms , but also of personal pronouns or demonstratives , which avoid repetition and provide a playback more fluid, therefore more enjoyable.
Ex : his father = he = this one (to avoid repeat 3 times, ” his father “)
The punctuation is an integral part of the basis of scripture. Without it, a text is hard to read and in addition incomprehensible. If you don’t learn to control it, you take the risk that your synopsis, treatment , or even for your scenario (for stage directions) from landing directly in the trash.
A very well known example and that I particularly like, and it is this :
Arthur Lucas come and eat the children.
So…this sentence without punctuation tells us what ?
The character is named Arthur Lucas, and that he must eat children ! I remind the readers of this blog thatit is obviously forbidden to eat of the children, or any human being !!!
If we use the punctuation, that’s what it gives :
Arthur, Lucas, come and eat, children !
As you can see, the sentence completely changes the meaning ! Here, we have a mother who calls her two children, Arthur and Lucas, to move to table.
Imagine a scenario (stage directions, and dialogue) entirely without punctuation or poorly punctuated ! The reader can very quickly be lost or be taken on wrong tracks, without a link to your story… suffice to say that your scenario will likely not be read until the end and sent to the recycle bin.
Tell you one thing : if I send you back a mail telling you that the presentation is not going to or that your text has no punctuation, this is not to punish you ! This is to help you ! By correcting your mistakes or imperfections, you maximize your chances of achieving your goal : to be read and to be produced.
I hope this article on ” punctuation “ to your liking. This article must be part of the founding papers of the blog and your training ! Before you even learn the techniques of scriptwriting !
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