Why Repeat Stuff?

One thing you don’t want to do is repeat information. Unless you need it for rhythm, cut it. Basically, never tell us anything twice. Set your fast muscle twitch for boredom on eleven.

Here’s something one of my students wrote. This was her first, very good draft… (excuse the poor formatting, as WordPress won’t let me do it right. Grrrr.)

INT. BOXING WAREHOUSE ARENA – A LITTLE LATER

Francisco sees a group of BOOKIES talking to CUSTOMERS as
they place bets. He walks over.

FRANCISCO
Camacho.

BOOKIE
You got money?

FRANCISCO
Yes.

BOOKIE
There’s a minimum, you know.

FRANCISCO
Is 7,000 pesos enough?

I went through and cut the unneeded “You’ve got money” because he later says he’s got 7,000 pesos. And, the answer, “Yes.” can also go away. The scene does not change… it’s a little shorter, but the same information is there.

INT. BOXING WAREHOUSE ARENA – A LITTLE LATER

Francisco sees a group of BOOKIES talking to CUSTOMERS as
they place bets. He walks over.

FRANCISCO
Camacho.

BOOKIE
There’s a minimum, you know.

FRANCISCO
Is 7,000 pesos enough?

Then, I went back through and trimmed it a bit more. Why not? So, it got a little tighter again. Not to say it’s any better, that’s a call the writer will make… I’m just giving you examples of HOW things can be cut… it’s up to you to decide IF you should make the cut.

My general theory is, shorter is better.

INT. BOXING WAREHOUSE ARENA – A LITTLE LATER

Francisco joins a group of BOOKIES talking to CUSTOMERS as
they place bets.

FRANCISCO
Camacho.

BOOKIE
(snide)
There’s a minimum.

FRANCISCO
Seven thousand enough?

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1 Comment

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One response to “Why Repeat Stuff?

  1. If you install the Scrippet plug-in for WordPress, your scripty stuff will come out on the blog pretty close to properly formatted. You can see some examples in the entries on my blog.

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