Post by trellicktower on Jan 24, 2010 16:00:38 GMT -5
Let's say you have a bunch of people sitting around in a room. They are talking. There is a TV on in the room as well, and everyone is waiting for the evening news to begin. Every now and then you want the action on the TV (particularly the newscaster) to be the focal point of the scene. You want the people sitting around to be paying attention to what's on the TV, but also want them to be making comments throughout. How would you write this?
Would it be as simple as saying something like:
The evening news comes on the TV. Everyone stops talking to see what the news has to say about the day's events.
PERSON 1 Blah...
PERSON 2 etc
NEWSCASTER and so on
Anyone have experience with this? I thought West Wing scripts might have examples, but also thought I'd check with you all.
Post by scottmyers on Jan 26, 2010 15:17:14 GMT -5
When in doubt, go to the experts. Here is how Paddy Chayefsky handles it in the movie Network:
84. INT. MAX'S OFFICE
MAX behind his desk on his phone, chin cupped in his right hand, staring glumly at HOWARD on his CONSOLE --
MAX (on phone) Nothing --
HOWARD (ON CONSOLE) And the Voice said to me: "We're not talking about eternal truth or absolute truth or ultimate truth! We're talking about impermanent, transient, human truth! I don't expect you people to be capable of truth! But, goddamit, you're at least capable of self-preservation! That's good enough! I want you to go out and tell the people to preserve themselves -- "
MAX (mutters on phone) Right now, I'm trying to remember the name of that psychiatrist that took care of him when his wife died --
ANOTHER ANGLE showing the rapt attention of the PEOPLE in the control room, especially of DIANA --
HOWARD I don't want you to riot. I don't want you to protest. I don't want you to write your congressmen. Because I wouldn't know what to tell you to write. I don't know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the defense budget and the Russians and crime in the street. All I know is first you got to get mad. You've got to say: "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this any more. I'm a human being, goddammit. My life has value." So I want you to get up now. I want you to get out of your chairs and go to the window. Right now. I want you to go to the window, open it, and stick your head out and yell. I want you to yell: "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this any more!"
DIANA (grabs HUNTER's shoulder) How many stations does this go out live to?
HUNTER Sixty-seven. I know it goes out to Atlanta and Louisville, I think --
HOWARD (ON MONITOR) -- Get up from your chairs. Go to the window. Open it. Stick your head out and yell and keep yelling --
But DIANA has already left the control room and is scurrying down --
Technically, I suppose, you would establish the TV newsperson on the TV, then follow the character name with the (V.O.) extension. But you see there's a bit of 'play' in that the reader assumes the newsperson continues to talk while conversation happens among characters in the room.
Post by outofcontext on Jan 26, 2010 17:48:51 GMT -5
I'm just jazzed to see Chayefsky put action in parentheticals--it's a habit I've been trying to break but maybe I can let it go now. We find comfort where we can. FWIW, I like the one establishing indication and V.O. after. Anyone have any rules on O.S. and V.O.? I've heard a lot of different opinons. I use O.S. when someone is present, even on the other side of a door or outside a window and V.O. most other times.