Are you still talking? The use of continueds in your script

Hello, Character. It's me, your writer. First, let me say that your dialogue sounds snappy and authentic. Awesome. But, there is some stage business I need you to do, and it needs to happen right here. Yes, it's important. You can keep talking as soon as you're done. Thanks, I appreciate it. Okay, that's all I needed. Carry on.

Continueds are important formatting elements of your script. As you might guess, continueds are used when something is inter

rupted. In stage play scripts, it's used within dialogue. In screenplays, it might be dialogue or the continuation of a scene. Let's look at some examples.

But first, a note: since I'm not a screenwriter, I'll be using stage play format.

Dialogue, interrupted

Where was I? Oh, right. When we talk about interrupted dialogue, we're not talking about one character interrupting another to stage-whisper that his zipper is open. We're talking about dialogue that is interrupted for one of two things: some action, or a page break.

And who wouldn't want to be interrupted for a little action, amIright? (I write my own jokes, obviously.) Sometimes you need to interrupt a character's dialogue for stage action or necessary description, and then the character continues speaking. (CONT'D) is used to indicate this. Here's what it looks like.
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You might be thinking that looks redundant. Is it really necessary to have the character's name again? Wouldn't it be obvious that the same person is still speaking unless we see a new name? Well, let's try it.
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I'm sure an actor wouldn't be derailed by this, as they'll make up for it with yellow highlighter. But it's clearer and more helpful with the name and (CONT'D).

Page breaks: for when there's (MORE)

The other reason dialogue is interrupted is when one character's brilliantly-written, enthralling speech runs long enough that it spills onto the next page. When this happens, scriptwriting software breaks the dialogue at a sentence, and appends (MORE) to indicate that there is... more. On the next page, the character's name is inserted with (CONT'D) and the dialogue... continues.
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If you're giving your actors speeches long enough to span two pages, I say make it nice and easy to read.

But I don't want any (MORE)! Or (CONT'D)!

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Maybe you don't want mores and continueds in your script. That's fine, I'm sure you've got your reasons. You can turn them off.

Final Draft
In Final Draft, go to Document Mores and Continueds.

Uncheck whatever you don't want.
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In Montage, mores and continueds don't appear in your script. They are added automatically when printing. You can still turn them off though. Open Preferences, the General tab. You'll see the checkboxes to turn them off.

Next: from Scrivener to Final Draft

My next post on this topic will cover how to type your script in Scrivener, so that mores and continueds are correctly formatted when you import into Final Draft.

To be (CONT'D)!
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I write plays and lyrics. I design for print and web. I blog about apps, Mac stuff, and writing.
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