Screenwriting : Cussing confusion by Crystal Wolfer

Cussing confusion

Can someone please help me figure out how to express anger and frustration without swearing?

Jody Ellis

I have no idea. I like to cuss and usually have to edit at least half the F bombs from my scripts. Lol. Seriously, read some family screenplays for ideas.

Stephen Barber

I typically break stuff...

Crystal Wolfer

Jody that is exactly my problem

Eric Christopherson

Watch Hillary Clinton at her next press conference.

Eric Christopherson

Ya don't need words to express anger or frustration, by the way. It might be a good exercise to try to do it without words altogether.

Lucy Sanna

Internal or external cues? Flaring nostrils, sweating, cutting people off when they speak, muscles quivering, body tensing, heat flushing body, irritable, poor listening, irrational reactions, demanding action, taking inappropriate risks, exploding over little things... etc.

Kerri Philpott

Make up your own curse words as they did in Firefly and Battlestar Galactica. Or use a different language. Spanish curses generally end in a vowel and sometimes actually sound delightful if you don't know the meaning.

Brittany Haigler

You can also ball up your fist, getting red in the face (beet red), blink eyes rapidly, cross arms, short rapid breathing, point finger, scowl, dagger eyes, pace back and forth, run hands through hair and clenched or lock jaw. A lot of people use sarcasm too. Hope this helps!

Craig D Griffiths

Have a person look for words. "Its...I mean... You know.... Arghh".

Antoine Mizel

Writing a brutal fight scene or death scene always calms me down. ;)

William Martell

Remember that we are screenwriting rather than speaker writing, so think of the actions rather than the words. What people do is the truth, what they say is often not true.

Maroun Rached

(grinding his teeth):"You phony snake... You'll pay for this."

Todd Bronson

I like a transference verbal attack about some universal comforting experience or person. An obvious, silly example would be bashing Santa Clause and X-mas. "Why do we promote obesity by encouraging kids to be jolly and full of jelly?"

Aray Brown

Furious, she/he slams her/his fist down on the table Or storms out Or punches a hole in the wall Or throws something across the room or on the floor It can even be : Disdain. Ugly pause. -------------------------------------------------------------- Or just a look: She/he shoots her a white hot stare, nostrils flaring Or she/he clenches her teeth, blood boiling. Daggers for eyes ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- It's about what you want your MC to do/what you want from your MC. Put yourself in her/his situation. Act it out. I would need more to go on to get more in depth.

Aray Brown

Cussing is my second language, but i'm a firm believer in necessary cussing as well as necessary talking

Crystal Wolfer

Thank you William I have taken that route with a lot

Owen Mowatt

This is a character question,and since none of us know yours or the trigger, it's difficult to answer. What I would say is, an over reaction to anger and frustration can be applied, but again it depends on your character and the situation they are faced with. In a TV series, a wife was so angry and frustrated that her husband had cheated on her again, that she went out and slept with his partner. However, that wouldn't work if the reason was losing your job, or getting a parking ticket. Also, is it important that your character lash out either verbally of physically? Can they not cry for example?

Erik Grossman

"dag nabbit!" kidding.

Regina Lee

Hang up the phone. Walk away. Leave the room. Drive off. All clear indications that you're angry and frustrated.

Debbie Croysdale

I agree with a lot of the statements above. I myself, am guilty of over reacting, but its a price to pay for being highly strung and deep thinking. I agree with@WM and what he says hits home. Who are these people who make us angry? I've even had people in London write garbage to me. Instead of thinking how best to react......don't react at all......they are not worth it and most likely lead a Poxy existence and hate their jobs.

Crystal Wolfer

Would it be obnoxious of me to add a statistic to get people to feel compelled to change it? I was told it would be but I don't agree

Herb P Grinker

slam your fist, fix the character with a forced look, stern look,...and I would echo Regina's points a well.

Doug Nelson

Crystal – it' a movie; you need to show the character's anger by action – not by words.

Crystal Wolfer

My sentiments exactly Doug

David Taylor

Great set up for anger in the ASSASSIN (1993 Bridget Fonda). Every time she is, she smiles cutely and says "I never did care about the little things" Then all hell usually breaks loose. The audience wait for it every time, but the characters she says it to don't know what is about to happen.

Aray Brown

Was that the original title?

Crystal Wolfer

Justice askew was the original title but I've since changed it

Aray Brown

I was referring to David :)

Crystal Wolfer

Sorry Aray

Aray Brown

No worries :)

Al Hibbert

Some people cuss, some people don't (as much). Action can't always convey the emotion- My dad used to say "sugar!" in place of "sh*t" if he hit his thumb with a hammer or something. Sometimes a grunt, or unintelligible cursing, or cursing under the breath can fit the bill. Chris Farley had a great pseudo curse word in "Tommy Boy"- "holy schnikes."

David Taylor

@Aray. Assassin was also called 'Point of No Return. There was french version prior to that I think.

Debbie Croysdale

I agree with @Owen. It depends on the situation and characters in hand. (Apologies when I first answered thought it was a general question but reading further along thread realise it's about one particular script...sometimes my phone just displays bits of this site when will fi weak.) Suppose it was eg a Noir. The opponent who was angry could smile, saunter over to the cocktail cabinet and slip an olive in a martini. .....Happily ask them are they enjoying their drink, and state they want to oblige their every whim...while their unseen hand slides over a shiny silver pistol in their deep silk pocket. Or Eg A zombie film. Raucous laughter towards opponent who made them angry, then leave the room, with flashbacks of when they ate their neighbours. Of course Noir and Zombie is Extreme, but if it was some more "normal" scenario I would show the anger via either a Board meeting or Social club meeting. With other people around the two opponents anger would be visible facially, but the setting would render neither character, to vent their innermost feelings. The body language could show physically eg nervous foot tapping, scornful glares, nervous twitching and slamming down of briefcases yet the "anger" remains under the lid. Two people may be on the precipice of murdering each other. ....But have to feign a polite smile. "We need to review the situation, I think it can be resolved amicably before next meet up".

Michael A. Portone

" %#@$#&@%#& " ;)

Doug Nelson

IT'S MOVIE, REMEMBER – SHOW ME IN ACTION ! (don't tell me). Michael, I think you misspelled that.

Al Hibbert

How's it coming on that script, Doug?

Kay Luke

Who is angry, how angry are they, why are they angry, and what are they angry about? If the character is mad about the game, he throws something. If he's mad about his wife's cheating, he takes a shot of whiskey. All is relative.

Al Hibbert

Kay- How did you know I'm angry at my relatives?

Kay Luke

Al-- like you should be any different than the rest of us!

Doug Nelson

Al, which script? I've got one set to shoot in early September and another going into casting in a week or two – both those are finished. I'm wrapped up in screening/judging films for film festivals from now through October so I'm not doing much writing right now. I'll get back to “Stop It!” when the festivals are finished because my Agent wants it in the Spring. I'm curious as to how my little “Fox Spirit” festival short does. It's really just a promo piece for the the young woman in it to use in getting a part in a music video and she has been cast in the next “Avatar” film. Its done what we hoped already.

Lucy Sanna

I learned anger by experiencing it. Not an actor but a novelist, but when the airline changed terminals without notifying me (I was sitting in the Denver terminal, focussed on the writing presentation I would be giving the next day 2 hours outside of San Francisco, my flight destination). "You should have looked at the board," the clerk at the "customer service" (hah!) desk said. Then, "The next flight out is at midnight." I took the ticket and stormed - ANGRY - to the lounge for a salad & a drink, opened my laptop, and wrote everything I felt, viscerally. A great exercise. I can now go back and pull that up when I want to write anger.

Cheryl Allen

Ha. I may need this for life. :)

John Iannucci

How the f+#$ would i know how many S+*&s are good

Dan Guardino

Piss someone off and watch their reactions.

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