Screenwriting : Off the nose & timing. by Michael L. Burris

Michael L. Burris

Off the nose & timing.

Seen many ask over the years ask what is off the nose or complain about lack of off the nose. There are also timing variations about duration of a scene and making it work but it's complicated and don't want to ramble on. Anyway hope this helps, it may have a little of that weird subtext label some like to use too, Oh, duh, I put it on my wall, profile whatever. Peace out, good luck and happy writing.

Pierre Langenegger

Never heard of off the nose.

Michael L. Burris

Oh great, I'm off again.

Michael L. Burris

That's what I get for eavesdropping in on Henry the VIII's long lost descendant talking about heads being to drastic, don't tell or it will be off my eave sometime in the middle of late eve or night and probably by some Knight.

David Levy

Just throwing it out there, did you mean "on the nose"? And is the "timing" you refer to in regard to "scene timing"? Lil help here!

Beth Fox Heisinger

Yes, I looked at the guide as well and it's unclear. Perhaps more context needs to be given? Also, most folks simply refer to "subtext" as subtext. Michael, was your example meant to be an example of subtext use within a scene?

Jody Ellis

All seems a tad confusing. Do you mean "on the nose"?

Bill Costantini


David Levy

Exactly, Bill!

Michael L. Burris

To get back "On The Nose". Well I was simply stating that while helping a feller with his barn roof the other day he made an obscene claim that he was a long lost relative to Henry The VII and thought it was drastic how he used to just off everybody's head. (with no good reason) So as I was lowering the eave which overhang a horse corral I noticed he had a rather tall horse named Knight which at the same time I was thinking about why and when people or writers should be off the nose as I also thought I sure would hate for that horse to hit itself right "On The Nose" or worse, off its head. So that should explain that, I think. I know its probably bad timing as I waited so long to reply as I just got back from a crazy adventure but anyway. As far as the example goes, I do get not so understandable at times but it was to show some of the confusion of where and when to put in the interjections. There is no right answer and depends on timing of the scene, length needed, show runner preference and probably 50% I can't understand why its needed that way. Kind of like practice thinking like a show runner not to claim I am in any way one but at least I try to think like one at times. For instance Emma could have said dumb boys as soon as Billy said dumb girls, end of scene. Emma could have said dumb boys upon taking cookies after Mary's return instead of thanking her mother first. There are variations to set up too. When Billy asks "When are you going to return?" I like the scene but Billy sounds too proper. When Billy asked "When you coming back", instead it sounded much more natural unless of course Billy had just had a lecture on speaking proper the scene before. I mean you don't even have to know video games at all and see some silly girl talking about head stomping on a video game and let you know how she isn't coming back because there is too many to head stomp to me I think that is just damn funny in itself. Its just about being prepared to think out different ways to do things to make them work better or maybe the show runner had a bad day giving the staff good reason to throw darts at his picture when he leaves the room which they probably can't and better not get "On The Nose" at least too much. Show runner probably knows this and at least hopes they hit the target instead of being completely off target which is still to say stay off the nose. Anyway, is it really that complicated, no, but at first all the logic seems insane, out there, and even an impossibility of thought that makes any sense at all. My hiatus was about making, managing and trying to work this sort of world just for practice and to see if I really understood how things might work. I avoided almost all social media and didn't read anybody's idea's, advice and went by my own instincts, not that I didn't draw and learn from some things I read through the years. Anyway peace out because I do got to go finish a decent movie but I can't wait to explode into writing, "pitching" and funnest of all manipulating television again and I'm going to do it the beat of my own drum. I know I'm hard to follow but am I THAT hard to follow. See you all in a week or so.

LindaAnn Loschiavo

Nice photo of the birthday cake + lots of candles, Michael. Happy birthday to you!

Bill Costantini

Anybody who helps a feller with his barn roof at night and cares about animals is all right with me.

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