Screenwriting : Language, Captain! by Lukas Flemming

Lukas Flemming

Language, Captain!

So I am wondering, since I want a certain genuineness in my screenplay there is quite a lot of profanity in it. FD counts 64 curse words, the f-word alone appears 33 times in different forms. I feel this is required for authenticity. But I don't want to spoil my chances. Should I take the cursing out? Or use the alternative dialogue function to have two version, one with and one without? Or can I leave it as is?

Thanks in advance!

Chad Stroman

It really depends on whether it fits with the characters and tone of the screenplay you've written.

Does it read natural with the cursing or does it read forced?

I recommend reading your dialogue out loud (or use an app like TableRead Pro). If it fits the characters, fits the situation and fits the tone of the screenplay then it should stay. If it sticks out like a sore thumb then maybe it doesn't fit.

Lukas Flemming

Oh no, it is integral to my protagonist. And it's not forced, just the odd everyday curse...

Dan MaxXx

just work with people who do profanity movies.

Chad Stroman

Dan MaxXx F- Yeah! what Dan said! :)

Lukas Flemming

thx :D

Jorge J Prieto

One name Director: Martin Scorsese. Ie, Casino, Good Fellas, just to name a few which are loaded with the "F" word. Great films regardless. I agree with my man here, Dan MaxXxx. Hey, if the character is a street hood or a bad mouth cop, or Mafioso, fuck yeah, use the word. Tarantino is another great example, he is great with assigning his characters the language that fits their crimes. Hope this helps.

Lukas Flemming

I'm just concerned, since the film doesn't contain violence or nudity that the producers would feel they're unnecessarily taking away a possible audience by getting an R-rating...

Jorge J Prieto

You have to know your audience. Who is your target, and what is your genre. Of course, you don't want to isolate anyone, except little children and that's where the rating comes in. Good luck, buddy.

Lukas Flemming

Jorge J Prieto Thank you very much!

Doug Nelson

Lukas, I noted that you're in Germany. Where is your target market? If you have worldwide aspirations you must realize that not all portions of the global market share an acceptance of profanity - basically, you're shooting yourself in the foot. My advice is to delete the profanity and see if the story is still strong. If it isn't; then it wasn't to begin with.

Lukas Flemming

I am aiming at the British market, namely Scotland and England (but also the rest of the UK). For a 15 rating, the BBFC says:

Language

There may be strong language. Very strong language may be permitted, depending on the manner in which it is used, who is using the language, its frequency within the work as a whole and any special contextual justification.

I just feel I would have the change the character of my protagonist if she didn't curse.

The story is strong, but I think it doesn't work with a protagonist who lets themselves be constrained by social convention. In other words, she's a bit of a rebel, or rather just likes to behave outside society's boundaries.

Dan Guardino

If you aren't producing it don't worry about the rating. Some producers want an R rating.

Lukas Flemming

thanks again, everyone!

Brad Johnson

I would remove it. Profanity doesn't communicate anything. Unless your main character has tourettes syndrome in which case profanity will probably be ok.

Lukas Flemming

Brad Johnson really? To me profanity conveys a lot. O.o

Personally I curse every day at some point or another. Especially when I'm feeling unwell or cornered. Or joyful; just like I brush my teeth every day. And I want to illuminate those parts of the character. The everyday parts that make us relate to people. I think profanity is a bit like saying "uhm". It can be a gap filler.

I really don't know what to do, because I feel that not cursing is untrue to the character.

Brad Johnson

As an audience member I find profanity is very much overused in some films almost as a substitute for substance . Dialogue should illuminate who the characters are and I don't feel that cursing generally accomplishes this. A lot of filmmakers are apparently moving towards more silence and less talking in general because this is appealing to audiences. I tend to overwrite myself sometimes and could probably use more silence with people doing things and not talking. I mentioned the tourettes example because its the only situation I can think of where profanity would really help with character development. But I suppose its a judgment call. If it really feels completely natural ok, but if its for shock value or dissonance then no.

Jerry Robbins

When overused, profanity can block out the feeling when the character really needs to use it to express feeling, and nothing else will be believable. Of course, if you are writing a story that requires it to be believable, that is another story. Just be aware that it may be excluded from some network tv, but probably not cable or other venues.

And... when you want the emotions to stand out, really, really be deep, you may have to use something like complete silence or something else, because the profanity just won't do it... it's too common by then to stand out.

It's your story. You have to go by your own instincts.

Beth Fox Heisinger

Is it "authentic?" Or is it redundant and overly repetitive? Hearing and reading the same word over and over and over and over can read and sound like an annoying, pounding drum. Whereas a well-placed f-bomb can be a beautiful thing. Lol! Is this meant to shock? 'Cause that can backfire too if not done well. Personally, I find it rather funny that "strong language" for some people and for some reason equates to "strong character." I don't think so. Of course, it depends on context, the story world, the actor, etc. And if there's not much else development to a character, then profanity can also come across as "one-noted," and boring. Too much of any one thing can become problematic if not handled well. But... none of us have any context here, so it's hard to say. It truly depends on context, of course. I would just suggest, Lukas, read through and ask yourself: Could I use this character's proclivity for swearing in a more strategic, judicious manner? Is it indeed coming across as "authentic?" Or is the profanity too much and too redundant? Is its use truly effective? So, regard it with the same scrutiny as you would for any other story element. Is it working for your creative intent? Is it working for the character? Is it appropriate for the market and audience you wish to appeal? ;) Hope that helps!

Lukas Flemming

Thanks for all your help!

Some random examples:

FREDDY (V.O.)

Yep that’s me. I sometimes wonder why people don't get along with me. But then I think: Oh, fuck ‘em.

---

FREDDY

The fuck, Geoff! Don’t startle me like that.

---

FREDDY

What the Fuck with a capital F? Where’d he get the money?

---

GEOFF

(grinning)

If this fails, basically my life savings are "fucked", as well as his. And this studio.

---

FREDDY

(to Janice)

You know what? Fuck this for a queue. Are we here to party or to stand in line?

I don't know why but it just feels right for the characters...

Peter R. Feuchtwanger

If the subject matter is already beyond that of a preteen, and you aren’t submitting to the Mormon Film Festival, why not?

Matthew H Emma

It all depends upon the script, the story and especially the characters. If it fits and is necessary, by all means include it.

A. S. Templeton

When the F-bombs start falling, I head for the bomb shelter. I’ve never been convinced that profanity improves a story or increases box office, but it certainly dates a work while driving off a huge swath of potential viewers (word gets around) who don’t care for that kind of language.

Doug Nelson

I'm kinda' with A.S. on this. I personally view the use of superfluous profanity as a sign of inferior writing (but I could be wrong). The day of the 'shock-jock' is long gone here in the US and if you're writing for the UK market, I suggest you do a little more research. I don't know about the German market.

Lukas Flemming

I was thinking of films like Lock, Stock, Snitch, Sexy Beast and This is England...

Thanks for all the great advice, guys! You’re the best.

Natalie Elizabeth Beech

I swear a lot in my day to day, less f's more "Bloody hell" "bollocks" etc( the classic British swears, me being a British Lass), I think it can offer authenticity to a script and therefore dialogue but depends on the character and story and shouldn't be superfluous and indeed shouldn't be forced in the dialogue to paint a picture of authenticity.

Lukas Flemming

Natalie Elizabeth Beech thanks! quick question: how would a young woman born in Yorkshire who has moved to Scotland and wants to distance herself from her home most likely curse?

Babz Bitela, President/Silver Bitela Agency/WGA

may not want to sweat it bc once it's sold it's going to be rewritten anyway ;-)

Natalie Elizabeth Beech

Depends, is she speaking with a Scottish accent or an open English/generic accent? I'm from Stoke ( Northern/Mid England also) and despite me not Speaking in my original accent any longer the cursing has pretty much carried over as some things are "universal" across the UK.

So the choice I would make in the case of this woman is to have her lose the Yorkshire accent and speak in an open english, received pronunciation( a.k.a BBC English) and to remove her Yorkshire colloquialisms and the way in which she coarticulates would change too.

Generally "ya cunt" is very common in Scotland, at least it was when I was living in Edinburgh.

If you want to say something specifically, my messages are open you can ask me to "translate" as it were :)

Knobhead, dickhead, bollocks, shit, bloody hell, fuckin' hell, pissin' hell fire, are all British curse words/phrases.

Lukas Flemming

I want her to speak RP. I’m just wondering if I should go and use Scottish curses or go more for English, seeing as the character comes from the North, speaks a south-ish accent and lives in Scotland... but I guess I’ll have to figure that out myself...

Thanks so much for the help!

Natalie Elizabeth Beech

Given your description of her, I would absolutely go for English curses(swear words) Scottish ones in RP wouldn't sound correct/authentic at all.

Erik Sternberger

I've always felt that as long as profanity enhances, it is fine. If it's there to be "kewl" it should go. If the dialogue reads better in rhythm without it, dump it. If it sets a character, keep it. But, if everyone swears constantly it might muddle the individual characters voices, so make sure it isn't just f-bombs, but smart f-bombs.

Then again, I have a screenplay with an f-bomb in the title, so what do I know... ;)

Jena Rae Riggan

Hi, I would have a clean version as well and that way you will be covered. In my opinion, however, sometimes curse words are used so excessively that it still doesn't seem authentic...read it out loud and see if it sounds "normal" to yourself and others. I normally don't use excessive cursing in everyday conversation. ..

Phillip "No Parenthetical" Hardy

O Captain! My Captain!

F#K NO! Do not alter your work if it feels real and is value-added. Obviously, if you're crafting a faith based work, you may want to go easy on the F-bombs. In fact, you probably won't want to have any. But if you're writing a mob film or something about tough, street kids, let the profanity fly. It's the way people talk. I never think about how many swear words I use. But for the sake of this thread, I went back and counted how many times I used the F-word in my last script about young, aspiring rock musicians. I used three variations of the word eleven times. At this point, I have no intention of changing it unless someone that buys the script pays me to.

I do have a fun story. In 2014, Inktip ran one a loglines in their newsletter for my scripts that has six F-words. A literary agent asked to read the screenplay and then wanted to shop it as an MOW. He requested that I scrub all the profanity. I agreed because I felt it didn't compromise the integrity of the work and also wanted a possible paycheck. I scrubbed the work and sent it to the LA, who in turn sent it to the producer, a man who makes lots of MOW's and a few famous features. This includes hit film about an action hero fighting terrorists on a jet airplane. You many connect the dots for that one if you like. Regrettably, I missed scrubbing one of the F-words and the producer went ballistic on the LA, who in turn called me after Midnight and went ballistic on me.

To mitigate my scrubbing error, I sent the producer an apology note accepting complete responsibility, and the LA emailed it to him. Two days later, and I kid you not, the producer told the LA my script was "the worse pieces of shit he'd ever read." In hind sight, I should have told the producer to go F%k himself. However, it’s was a great lesson for me and it’s seems funny now. At the time it happened, not so much.

Tiffany Marie Delorme

If it's not vulgar then it's probably okay. If it moves the story along because it's typical of the character to speak this way then leave it. The only word that I avoid in writing is the MF word. It just seems gratuitous.

Phillip "No Parenthetical" Hardy

AS:

You make a great point and I definitely think there are films that cross the line of assaulting my eyes and ears. I was watching the second season of Versailles last night. My wife begged off this show during the first season because of the graphic sex scenes. And though I love the show, I have to agree with my bride there are very gratuitous and pornographic sex scenes peppered throughout the series. I think they add absolutely no value to the story. I will also mention the record holding film for profanity The Wolf of Wall Street crossed the line for my standards of acceptable taste. However, there are many who disagree with me.

We are a voyeuristic society but perhaps by eliminating all limits of good taste we become completely desensitized. But I'll leave those deeper questions to the politician and shrinks. Anyway, I need to go play Manhunt, so I can up my kill score. Addios!

David Niall Wilson

It is very possible that my first produced film (Godhead - the Movie) broke the record for F-bombs. That film was independent though, and written to the outline and story of the director / producer. I do know that ratings are somewhat based on that sort of thing, and ratings can limit or expand the proposed audience.

Martina Cook

It depends on your story. “Brave” and “Trainspotting” were both based in Scotland and had Scottish characters, but only one was a sequence of profanities and outrageous dialogue...and yet it worked. Different choices for different audiences. :)

Travis Sharp

would the character say it? if yes, then say it. tell everyone who disagrees to fuck off.

Beth Fox Heisinger

Travis, yeah... not so sure about "would a character say it" because often it is more an attitude or proclivity of the writer and/or filmmakers that is infused into the work, and is not so much of the character or true to the character. Just saying. ;)

Shawn Speake

This is a case of 'style'. You are developing your style. If you wanna see it - and in this case, hear it - write that sh@@! Write the movie you want to see.

Travis Sharp

Frankly my dear, I don’t give a heck?

Shut the heck up, Donnie?

Nope! Write what your character would say.

Beth Fox Heisinger

Well, I would think there's more to consider in addition to style: story and world context, desired rating, and, you know, not vexing or boring your reader. Lol! ;)

Beth Fox Heisinger

Not what I mean, Travis. Lol! Not talking about softening profanity. Just saying... language and/or word choice is an area where the writer's personality/attitude/taste/proclivities can be very apparent when it often shouldn't—right? Sometimes it's not the charactert—that's the point. The writer or the writer's ego is too on the surface. Not hidden. The language is not coming through as "authentic" to the character or the world or the "reality" of a scene or what they would indeed say. Sometimes the reader is made too aware of the writer. For me, that throws me out of the story. :/

Jordan Kelly Montgomery

I agree with Beth. Travis kinda proves her point. In Gone With The Wind, that is the only cure word in the whole film. Had a huge impact... Every time John Goodman cursed out Donnie it hurt us too because he didn't deserve it. When he died it effected us and Goodman. Big effect... I just watched Goodfellas which is the complete inverse. Language took a back seat. Everyone talked big. But only a few characters went all the way... Big effect. I'd challenge you to write with craft in mind over authenticity. The art of the writer is to find the most creative way to communicate the authenticity of the character. That can be done in so many ways. (Scorsese vs Coen Bros) Who is your audience? Does it have a big effect?

Hope this helps. All the best!

Travis Sharp

I’m a little grumpy today. Beth-Jordan, you make excellent points. Curse when you should and don’t when you shouldn’t. All things in moderation. And eat your greens.

Alan B. Cox

Write it the way you see it. If sold they will rewrite the fuc... I mean dang thing anyway. Right?

Lukas Flemming

Natalie Elizabeth Beech what is the most evocative generic one-syllable curse word used as an exclamation in English? (i.e. go for the standard f#ck, or maybe sh#t?). I need something snappy that’s a chatch-phrase of sorts. An exclamation of surprise that’s a quick shout... I reckon the composite curses I know or can improvise (like c#cking arse or dlcking tw#t)...

Beth Fox Heisinger

And... that makes me think you're not writing for character sake, rather profanity for profanity sake. But, hey, some people work in profanity like some artists work in paint. Lol! ;))) BTW, our membership is open to people 13 years old and up. So.... ANYhoo, best wishes with your script, Lukas! ;)

Lukas Flemming

Beth Fox Heisinger not really. My problem is, is that my English is, of course, incfluenced by by Hollywood. Now, were it Scottish or Irish, those are dialects where I know quite a few expletives. If it comes to composite cursing, I’m fine. Or “curse adjectives”. But a one-syllable oath that is versatile enough to convey anything from surprise (mostly) to disapproval that ISN’T the f word, that is turning out more difficult than first I thought. While I know many four-letter words that convey the same meaning under certain circumstances, I can’t find one that is as versatile and as usable in different situations. As for f-ing: I use that because I want the character to only mainly use derivatives of the one “catch-phrasey” word. She’s not really a curser in that sense, more like she overuses that one word. Else I would have to rewrite the whole character. Do you see what I mean?

Bill Costantini

You could start a trend with a word, you know, and create your own meaning for a word that is not known as a swear word, like "fudge!". My dad suggested that word to me when I was a kid who had a filthy mouth at times. My mom wouldn't talk to me for days when she heard me using the Lord's name in vain. I use the word "dang" a lot, too.

Swear words, as you see here, can divide people. Good luck, Lukas!

Lukas Flemming

Actually, that’s a very good idea! In the British Series “Red Dwarf” they invented the curse word “smeg” and “smegging” for that very purpose, which now have sort of found their way into public knowledge. Or in “Porridge” they used the word “naffin’” for a similar thing. Thanks for that tip!

Bill Costantini

Don't know if you ever heard of George Carlin, but he was a brilliant comedian/social commentator whose Seven Dirty Words routine is classic. He even went to jail for it in at least one instance (for saying them on stage, even though dirty words were only supposed to apply to television at the time). The U.S. Supreme Court even had to issue a ruling when a radio station played the routine, and some states revised their obscenity laws as well. All because of George Carlin, and Lenny Bruce, too.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbZhpf3sQxQ

Natalie Elizabeth Beech

@Lukas Flemming Just saw your question, sorry to have not replied sooner. If you must use just one word, I would use fu$k or sh*t, Generally though we would use a phrase of exclamation, " bloody hell" or " fu$kin' hell" " fu$k me" etc.

If you are moving away from outright swearing, bloody hell is the most common English one that isn't really offensive any longer. "Naffin'" became common place after the 70s but now its use is generally used to mean something is bad, i.e it is naff.

The thing with British English is we use lots of words in lots of contexts and anything can be used as a swear or insult, c$nt can be a term of endearment or the worst thing you can call someone. Same for Bastard and knob head. Cockwomble recently became a thing online and English often do this to emphasise our underlying feelings yet remain polite and less crude.

Sorry I cant give you one succinct word, but the way we interact with people differs from region to region person to person that really, how I swear ( bastard this, bastard that, bastard it, bollocks,twat) etc, might not come as naturally to another British person.

P.s That you know "Porridge" impresses me, its one of my all time favourite shows so I am showing my bias here.

Lukas Flemming

Bill Costantini yes, thanks! That is a routine I can nearly rattle off mby heart. It’s surely one of Carlins most brilliant routines. Fortunately the Brits seem a little less stuck-up concerning these things. I personally try to use comedians in British talkshows as a guide (pre- and post-watershed). If Robert Webb can say tw#t on TV, then I reckon, I may use it, as well...

Natalie Elizabeth Beech

If you are writing for a EU/UK Audience in the first instance, swearing is much less of an issue here, in the UK we of course have the watershed but Bloody hell is common and twat and bollocks etc are routinely said. On EU tv any word can generally happen anytime of the day. Dont worry too much, go with what feels natural, Brits wont mind so much and to us, swearing is commonplace and everyday language, few are offended by such occurrences on TV/Film. Even if they are, they likely will do little about it but have a moan at the pub about it.

Lukas Flemming

Natalie Elizabeth Beech thanks for the advice. I shall have to re-write the whole character. I wanted her to be a little more like Father Jack from Father Ted who says “feck” all the time, although not as frequently as father Jack of course. But I guess that catch-phrasey stuff only works for senile Brits as the language is to distincive and multi-coloured in its swearing for me to reduce it to a single expletive. Which on the upside gives me a lingual advantage amd on the downside makes my prodagonist’s swearing a little more premeditated and less absent-minded...

I reckon Porridge is Ronnie Barker’s masterpiece! It’s a pity Richard Beckinsale died so young. If he had lived he would have become the rising star of the eighties.

Beth Fox Heisinger

Not really, Lukas. Lol! ;) It's just language. Usually the most simple solution is the most natural. ;) But... that said, personally speaking, I love 'made up' or colloquialisms soooooo much better mostly because they're different, refreshing, more creative, funny, etc -- like the movie Fargo. Ah, geez! I grew up in Minnesota so I have a special love for that movie and the Coen brothers. My dad used to always say "What the sam scratch?" Or "What the sam hill you doing?" Lol! ;) As Bill said, comedians are a great source of possibilities. Dunno if you watch John Oliver's Last Week Tonight, lots of well-used profanity, of course, but he comes up with the wackiest colorful phrases and ways to describe things. Hilarious! A mix of words is always great with or without profanity. Then again, a well-placed, simple f-bomb is a beautiful thing! ;) Best to you!

Natalie Elizabeth Beech

Lukas, I agree, it is masterful television, Ronnies Masterpiece for sure. Richard was incredibly talented, I first saw him when I was little in "rising damp" but to me he will always be Lenny Godber, I liked his Lenny in "Going Straight" too the spin off of porridge, but I felt the series otherwise fell flat.

Father Jack was Irish and very Irish in his way, Northern Ireland is a little similar to the Brits, but ROI completely different, I thought I knew how to swear until I lived in Dublin :P One word swears in that case would work, eejit, being one of the greatest words and pronunciations I can think of.

Don't sweat the dialogue so much you change your character to be unrecognisable from your instinct of her, a casting choice etc could ultimately make this choice for you further down the line anyway, stick with it, I am sure it will work out just fine.

Again if you would like any help feel free to reach out, I'm open to collaboration and British English by virtue of geography is something in which I excel.

Not sure if I can share email address here. So my apologies if I am breaking rules: beech.natalie@gmail.com

Bill Costantini

The "Oh Fudge" scene from Christmas Story is a classic, too. Sure, times are a little different. Parents would probably get sued in today's world if they tried washing their kids' mouths out with soap, but soap actually starts to taste pretty good after you've tasted it a couple dozen times. But this scene is a classic.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UwvEBhTYV5c

Lukas Flemming

Beth Fox Heisinger when I curse, it’s mainly the shouted f word. Like when dropping a sandwich or a phone, or stumbling over a branch. Only if I really get worked up will I go into a full-blown three or four word tirade. So the f word for me is more a superficial expression of surprise or annoyance rather than anger. It’s really only road rage that makes me curse properly and deliberately. I sometimes manage to catch myself at fuuu- and stop, but old habits die hard and mostly the word has left my lips bevore the thought has reached my brain...

Lukas Flemming

Natalie Elizabeth Beech thanks again! You’re the best.

Natalie Elizabeth Beech

Same, Fu$k for me is like an annoyed damnit, never really even registers as a curse word anymore, same with sh*t. But to express beyond that, being startled for example, Its " f it", f that or f me" " "oh bloody hell" etc

Natalie Elizabeth Beech

Lukas,

Any time! Happy to have helped. Not often my foul mouth and mind can be this useful to someone ;)

Beth Fox Heisinger

Lukas, yup, we all have our own personal uses and meanings to language... but we also need to consider how it is used and regarded by our readers and audience, and by the context of our characters and story worlds. ;)

Melissa Roddy

What if you create a unique swearing language for your characters. For example, on FIREFLY, they all swear in Mandarin. Be inventive!

Melissa Roddy

Also, I notice lots of f-bombs on this year's season of SUITS. I don't think it adds anything.

Aray Brown

if it's a part of the characters persona, i say leave it in.

Shawn Speake

Longest fucking thread on 'fuck' I've ever read... Lukas you're in Germany. You guys made the fucking HUMAN CENTIPEDE and all its fucking sequels. What the fuck are you worried about?! :) My bad. Couldn't help it... Lukas, in America poor people and creatives - radio and tv - curse more than people with money and a 9-5. Of course, there are exceptions. in America, poor kids of every ethnicity have been calling each other 'nigga' since the 90s. Poor people have their own language. But like everyone here has said, all that matters here is staying true to your story. I suggest having your computer read back every line. That'll give you a good read without you reading. Hope this helps.

John Iannucci

Saw a Matt Damon clip talking about Good Will Hunting. First thing the producer said was - do you know how many F bombs are in it. Matt said does that make a difference cause they just wrote it as people speak. He said they finally cut three or four to get under a threshold. (I’m paraphrasing.) so yes to some point it counts, but not as much if it fits in with the story.

Nikki Ackerman

John's right. I read or saw that somewhere about Good Will Hunting. Since you're writing for the UK market definitely take Natalie's advice! UK standards are quite different. Ignore those of us in the US. ;) I would have a clean version on hand just in case. (It never hurts!)

Jim Maceda

Carpet F-bombing will lose its effect over time. I find it's best to save those bombs for precise targets and purpose. One exception -- scripts about US Marines. They use fuckin" "fuck" as all eight parts of speech... fuckin"....

Jim Maceda

One good British compromise...try "friggin".

Nikki Ackerman

Jim, I think that's safe to say for soldiers in the Army, too. We have potty mouths for sure. I don't know why...

Nate Miller

All I can say is the movie "Snatch" wouldn't of been the same without the excessive swearing.

Jim Maceda

I've written a script called AF*CKINSTAN about the tragic struggle of a US Marine unit in Helmand at the height of the "surge" (2010). The protagonist is a gritty Gunnery Sergeant who uses "fuck" in almost every sentence to appear authoritative. The squad leader -- his foil -- NEVER swears... for the same reason. The others in the unit curse when it's appropriate for the moment and their character. The script has fared well in muliptle contests and coverages. None of these Marines would curse in the civilian world -- it's too tribal.

Dan Guardino

Jim. I think you got it backwards. I assume your squad leader is a Sergeant or a Staff Sergeant and would probably swear a lot more than a Gunnery Sergeant.

Jim Maceda

Dan, you're talking grunts - i'm talking JARHEADS. Gunny-Drill-Fuckin' Sergeant! Btw, nice to meet you. Your work is prodigious!

Dan Guardino

Jim. I was just going on my own personal experience when I was in the Marine Corps.

Victor Titimas

Not necessarily, and this is a prevalent question here.. It is not OK to swear just for the sake of it, nor is it to give the story an obscene tone(I recall a contest rule:"We accept all genres except erotica").

This being said, imagine a fierce looking street thug trying to ask for your money.

Will he say:"My fair lady/Most honorable gentleman, an appeal to your kindness, so that it might compell you to share this wallet with a poor soul!" or "C'mon, bitch/asshole, gimme your fucking money!"??

Jim Maceda

Dan, that’s interesting. Where did you deploy?

Dan Guardino

Vietnam.

Doug Nelson

Dan - I flew medivac & SAR for the 5th AirCav up north in I-Corps. Boy didn't we have fun?

Jim Maceda

Missed you, Dan & Doug. Was embedded with the 1/8 in Beirut, and every conflict since, it seems. Retired from NBC News in 2015. You guys saved my ass in Somalia. Semper fi.

Shara Maude

Don't take it out. Just cut it back. There's no reason to take it out completely. Or at least I don't think so.

Chad Stroman

Die Hard: YippieKiYay you bad guy!

Aliens: Get away from her you alien mother!

Little Miss Sunshine: Darn!!!!

There are films where swearing is warranted and should be supported and there are films where it's probably not and should be avoided (like "Toy Story" or "Cars"). Those IMHO who advocate a wholesale "movies shouldn't have any swearing" IMHO aren't approaching it from a position of what's best or works for the story, but operating from a religious or moral dogma standpoint. They're advocating a moral standard/personal standard which is fine as it's their prerogative as a consumer. However the real world is full of cursing. They want escapism from reality that actually has cursing. Ie. Fantasy. Again, it's fine if it fits and that's the challenge but it's really not about swearing. It's about using language effectively including swearing.

Remove the "N" word from a slave narrative?

Remove the "R" word that a person negatively uses for a person with mental disabilities?

Remove the "C" word that a misogynist uses?

Why neuter what's natural and fits? I haven't heard a good argument that serves the story. I have heard lots of moral or religious based arguments which are good for those who adhere to those or put a primacy upon those.

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