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Take action with your verbs Oct 27

Killer VerbsAs brevity in screenwriting is so crucial, it’s extremely important to pick verbs that do more than just describe the action.

In the rush to get that first draft of our script finished, we often plug in action words that we use every day in conversation or that come to us quickly. The two laziest ones of them all are: “looks” and “walks” (and their cousins: “sees” and “goes”).

And what’s wrong with these choices?

Well, they don’t tell us anything about the quality of the action. Why not use a word that packs emotional or sensory punch, and give that script reader a more visceral experience?

Which of these descriptions is more engaging and evocative?

Jerry looks at Karen.

Or:

Jerry gazes at Karen.

With “gazes” we get a sense of attraction, intent, perhaps love.

How about these two?

Ben walks down the alley.

Or:

Ben skips down the alley.

With “skips” we get a sense of Ben’s joy, state of mind and personality.

Bumping up the quality of your action words, is an easy way to bump up the quality of your script.

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  1. […] are certain verbs that are just lazy (looks, walks, gets… please see my previous article). They give us no insight into Patricia’s state of mind and lack a descriptive punch. See if […]

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