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quitofilms

on 12/07/2010

Things to never have in your script: Extended Phone Calls

Simply put, this will be a listing of things it's better to not have in your script and why. Understanding that there will always be someone that can point out that one or two films have had this and have still been successful, the majority of successful films avoid these traps.

- Extended one sided phone calls.
They are boring and little more than exposition. In classic drama, the hero would either summon or be approached by a messenger bearing new information for the audience (think Romeo and Juliet when Romeo's servant Balthasar arrives and tells Romeo that Juliet is dead). The classic line "Ho, what news from afar" is the idea. Same thing with the modern telephone, it is simply news from afar. Keep it short and sweet and move forward with the story. Having an extended phone conversation where the audience only hears one side of the story means the hero has to commit the dreaded act of repeating everything he is hearing or else be privy to information that the audience doesn't know, only to turn around and tell another character what he just heard.

Having the voice heard on the other end isn't hard, production wise, by the way and it brings the audience into the world of the story.

In addition to this, try to have your hero doing something while making the phone call. Much better than just sitting on the phone. It means that the hero has to focus and is in risk of danger, always good in a script. Car chase, looking for evidence, anything that requires concentration means that the act of talking on the phone is much more than just a casual conversation talking on the phone.

There are always exceptions to the rules....
cheers
Q

temperonepro

on 12/17/2010

there is a hundred different types of ways to write a script ; you have to have the basic format and then actually write it out and spend the time it takes to make it a visual representation.

all of this is just babble and should actually write some script instead of posting random opinions. in the film industry , opinions are fired.

JonJCairns

on 06/17/2012

I'm going to start my script with a phone call now. Chars!

abyssinal

on 08/12/2012

Never have a montage. It's lazy.

tactf00l

on 08/15/2012

A good example of a movie with horrible phone call scenes is 2012: Ice Age. Check it out to see how phone calls can be screwed up terribly. Well, one of the scenes is at the very start of the film, in which they are using a radio. But I think that would be a perfect example of how NOT to create phone/distance conversations.

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