Daily Dose: Script Tip

Including an F-bomb in the perfect spot can make screenwriters #@%! nuts. For spec scripts, less is usually more, but what swearing rules we should be following?

Profanity can certainly get a reaction, but if you’re looking for a ‘green light’ to use more, you’ll like this article. However, remember that this advice is for filmmakers.

F-Bombs Away! How Profanity Can Actually Make Your Films More Effective by V Renée

For screenwriters, I’d still suggest… use swear words sparingly. Think of it from a producers POV — will they want their film rated PG, PG-13 or R? The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) generally allows two F-words before a film earns an R-rating. Other factors apply to the ruling: like violence, sex and drug use in the film.

The decision is certainly an artistic one, based on a script’s world and situation. It wouldn’t hold the same impact if Scarface had been limited to two F-words and no bloodshed. However, the business side of Hollywood can play a big part in the outcome; especially  when they consider potential revenue against marketing and a film’s target audience size. The lower a film’s MPAA rating, the more people that can potentially see it in theaters. With so many ways to view a movie, that might be less of a concern.

Studios and finaciers have their own standards, though. It’s been my experience that colorful language doesn’t work as well on a spec script level but has more legs when it’s a director’s choice on set. 

Image courtesy of aechan via FreeDigitalPhotos.net.