1. twinstargemini
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    twinstargemini Member

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    When four characters are talking at the same time in a script?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by twinstargemini, Aug 29, 2010.

    I know when two characters are talking it's much like

    Louise Henry
    I hate you. I hate you.

    But, what happens if it's four characters? Sorry for this question if it seems stupid, but my friend would like to know.

    There's a problem I've spaced them out, yet they don't want to be spaced out when I posted, sorry if it's not clear.
     
  2. Boom Bach
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    Boom Bach Member

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    Well the only thing I can think of is something along these lines.
    They glared at each other and shouted the same words "I hate you!"
    Of course you'd reword it better and to pertain to your certain part.
     
  3. Elvis
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    Elvis Member

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    I'm not exactly sure, but what I might do is put all of the names in the character cue with a parenthetical note of (in unision).

    The only time you should do that is if they're all saying the same thing, because if you have four people saying four different things at the same time, what you write or how you write it is really irrelevant because it's all going to be gibberish on the screen.

    EDIT: IMO, of course. If you can find a way to make it work, more power to you. Just remember than in a script, what you write is secondary to how it will look on screen.
     
  4. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    LOUISE HENRY JOHN ALAN
    (simultaneously or in unison or in harmony)



    should cover it.
     
  5. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    Unless you are also producing and directing the film, and you are also the sole actor in it, a script needs to be very clear. In fact how clearly you write a script will determine how it looks on screen. I have little knowledge of script writing but that is how I understand it.

    I agree that it's going to be all gibberish when four people talk at the same time if they are not saying the same thing. May be you should choose which voice you want to be heard, the other voices can remain in the background. I am sure there is a rule for adding background noises.
     
  6. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    If they're the only people in the scene you can just write [ALL].

    Um, apart from that, I'm stumped. You may just have to pile them up. Indicate it's in unison but use seperate lines for the dialogue if they're saying different things, would probably be the best method.
     
  7. Northern Phil
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    Northern Phil Active Member

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    There needs to be someone leading the discussion, like a chairman or a senior figure. Look at cop dramas and scenes where the senior cop is briefing the rest of his staff, you'll see that senior cop is the one leading the discussion and allowing everyone to have thier say.

    It may not be like what friend is writing but it may give then a few ideas.
     
  8. twinstargemini
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    twinstargemini Member

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    Okay what happens if it's everyone in the whole scene except one? What should you write it as. Also, thank you so much for all your help.
     
  9. KittyGoesRawr
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    KittyGoesRawr Member

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    Don't use the same terms over. No frequent "he said" because you can get confused, and annoying, even if there's only one dude & three girls. Use phrases like, "The red head exclaimed as her lover stormed out of the room. Ruth turned to her Lacy, and began vomiting various curse words." Blahh. Crappy example, sorry.

    Ruth = Red head.
    Lacy = Character two
    Lover = ID for the dude, whatever his name may be.
    Fourth person isn't mentioned in the sentence obviously.

    I'll continue if this is confusing, lol.
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It's a script. Speech tags are irrelevant.

    The question is about characters speaking simultaneouly (usually to be avoided in a script anyway, because the audience can't follow overlapping dialogue well.

    I don't do scripts, though, so I don't know how to signify overlapping dialogue lines in those cases the writer does deem it necessary.
     
  11. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    I was of the understanding that all four actors were saying the same words (I hate you, I hate you.)
    If all four actors have different lines to say at the same time. then I would say think again about your script. This is a persciption for confusion.
    If the scene is an argument then you will possibly have four actors competing for the limelight and you are in danger of ending up with a load of babble.
     
  12. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    I suggest reading/watching Act One of Caryl Churchill's Top Girls. It's a dinner party with a group of 6 (I think) women, all talking over each other, interrupting each other, etc, all very precisely scripted. One of the most memorable pieces of theatre of the 20th century.
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i mentor many aspiring screenwriters, so here's how it goes:

    if all are saying exactly the same thing, then malzaar had the right idea...

    so it could look like this:

    if others are on camera in the scene and not speaking, while 3-4 are, it's highly unlikely all of the speakers would be saying the same thing, but if they are, you can do a multiple-character dialog head... it could look like this:

    if each one is saying something different, you have to handle that in the action/description element... like this:

    ...so, it's not all that hard... just have to make who's saying what and when clear to the reader... hope this answers all your questions... if you want more detail, you can drop me an email any time...

    love and hugs, maia
     

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