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Expert screenwriting tips by working screenwriters

Use of Parenthetical: (to Character-Name)

The '(to Character-Name)' parenthetical is frequently overused by non-pro screenwriters.

It's used when a group of people are in the same scene and it's not clear who a particular piece of dialogue is addressed to, e.g.:


(to Ron)

That's gonna take way too long.

The mistake that most non-pro screenwriters make is that they don’t realize that:

  1. using parentheticals slows the read
  2. readers can nearly always deduce who the dialogue is directed at by the content and who replies/responds to it.

Understanding this, pro screenwriters:

Use To Character-Name rarely - only when a reader cannot determine who the dialogue is directed at from the content and who replies/responds to it.

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