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Monday, September 22, 2014

Let's suppose two characters are talking. We go in close on their hands. One character speaks.

Is that line of dialog O.S. (offscreen) to make clear that we're not seeing her talk?

  • SALLY (V.O.)
  • (holding out the ring)
  • Take it. Please.
Or not, because at least part of her is on screen?

  • (holding out the ring)
  • Take it. Please.
How would you format this, fellow pro monkeys?


Yeah, yeah, I know. We're not supposed to put in camera direction in scripts.

However, in this case, I'm the narrative director of a video game, and I'm writing a cut-scene that will be pre-rendered. (It'll be generated in the game engine and then treated in various ways.) We need to know how much facial animation we'll have to do, which means I need to write in the camera direction so we can determine whose face is on screen, and for how long. There isn't going to actually be a director as such -- just a narrative director and an animator (plus a game designer and a concept artist, and several programmers and environmental artists).

In a movie script, it occurs to me that (O.S.) is the wrong way to go because a sloppy production manager might think the actor doesn't need to be there.


No O.S. needed, both because she is indeed (partially) still on screen, and because a close up is a directorial decision, not a screenwriter call. It is one thing to put a CLOSE ON RING action item before her dialog, but pre-editorial directions should stop there.

By Blogger rjreimer, at 7:59 AM  

The good Version (remember that!) of:

Close on her hands as she hands over the ring, her voice echoing over picture.

By Blogger Dennis Venter, at 2:54 AM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

By Blogger odocoileus, at 1:12 PM  

Yeah, yeah, I know. We're not supposed to put in camera direction in scripts.

Who says? Only amateurs say, No camera directions, anywhere, ever.

Pros use them judiciously and appropriately.

one pro's opinion

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By Blogger linda, at 4:34 PM  

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