In episode 295 of ScriptnotesJohn has to step out because of equipment lost on a flight, and Malcolm joins the show to fill in with Craig.

Malcolm and Craig answer a lot of listener questions, and it was really fun to see the variety of things people ask about, but to start off, they give a little follow up to the Beverly Hills Screenplay Competition. 

The questions ranged from “Why don’t we see more sexual acts that don’t include full-on sex, like blowjobs or handjobs?” to “do I put too much punctuation in my dialogue?” and “Is my psychotic manager right about having a claim to money I make after firing him?”

The sex acts questions was interesting because it’s true–I hadn’t thought about it much, but you usually only see kissing or full-on sex in television and film, unless it’s a villainous character doing the other sexual act.  Gotta wonder why.  I agree with Malcolm and Craig that if we see something like a blowjob on screen, the connotations for the character receiving are usually negative, but I have no idea how that portrayal started.  Or why?

It was nice to hear them talk about writing action sequences with specific martial arts techniques, and the level of detail you should include, because I was curious about that.  I wonder how many people have gotten jobs teaching writers and performers of tv shows about specific martial arts recently, since there’s been a boom in action.

I was disappointed but not surprised to hear about Sasha’s problems with her managers, and that those kinds of things happen not uncommonly to new writers.  I think it’s important to be aware of the danger out there, as well as how not okay that is.  Similarly personally useful was the commentary on punctuation in dialogue.  I probably put too much in, but I do it with the expectation that my actors will ignore it.  Because I’ve acted and I know they will.  It’s just so the original intentions of the character and scene are clear to a reader, so on a first run-through they understand the emotion and intents behind what is said.  I actually didn’t even do this as much when I started writing, but on one of my first scripts in school, my teacher commented on a scene where my protagonist was talking to a friend in passing at a store, and the friend invited him to something, but he said he couldn’t, and the friend told him all he ever did was work, which I intended to be friendly teasing, but my teacher read as uncharacteristically mean.  I’m kind of glad I’m more specific in parenthetical and punctuation now–I mean, I still try to use it only if I think it could be read two very different ways, but I feel like it’s helped my clarity.  This still kind of makes me wonder though, if I’m wrong and I do it too much?

There are several other topics, like why writers in Oscar acceptance speeches don’t usually mention other writers of the script drafts, world building for giant sci-fi worlds, and no dialogue sequences and how to keep them engaging, but the most interesting to me was how to format things going over or in the middle of credits, because that’s something I need for a script I’m doing right now–so thanks, Scriptnotes!  I needed to hear that one.

They end with One Cool Things about a Skyrim story about a lengthy journey to keep a dog safe, the game MLB The Show 17, and Fantastic Negrito.

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