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Parentheticals: Always Before Dialogue – Not After Apr 15

Quick Tip

Never end a dialogue block with a parenthetical.

I’ve been seeing this kind of thing a lot lately in the amateur scripts I’ve been reading:

DEMON

You think that puny gun can kill me?

(laughs)

If you need to indicate an action that follows a block of dialogue, then just write it as an action line following the dialogue. For example:

DEMON

You think that puny gun can kill me?

Demon laughs.

Note: The first example would have been okay if there were another line of dialogue after the parenthetical (also known as a “wryly”). For example:

DEMON

You think that puny gun can kill me?

(laughs)

Shit, you might be right.

For more juicy insight on this absolutely fascinating topic (not really), please check out my 10 rules for using parentheticals.

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One Response
  1. Annie Halls Anniversary says:

    All dandy Trevor but when will the madness stop?
    Screenplay contests are full of money grabbers?
    Readers are subjective based on their failures?
    When will the madness stop?
    Now I am eating dog food?
    My salary goes to landlord who hiked up my rent to 50%.
    When will the madness stop Trevor?
    All I do is pay the landlord.
    I work and waste time writing articles for monkeys in Europe.
    I thought I would be like Diane Keaton and wear a tie and find a man to marry.

    Annie Hall Annivesary
    But don’t force me to watch the Matrix.
    Tired writing two comments and having it deleted.
    But call Cookoo because I like to eat snails and drink rain.
    Ha one flew over to cookoo hut.
    I want to drink Vodka and eat flowers in park with CHIPS and John The Mythmaker coverage guy.

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