• Wondering which camera, gear, computer, or software to buy? Ask in our Gear Guide.

action screenwriting

In this example, what is the proper way to format and action line while someone is speaking?

They' zombies will probably just follow the sound of the car.
(looking around)
Unless we advertise that we're out here, so come on in.

Should it be done like this or done in a different way? To be clear, I want Caleb to say the second line while looking around.

Any help would be appreciated


IndieTalk's Resident Guru
sfoster's suggestion is correct. But I have a question;

Is there a reason you need to direct the actor in this specific situation?

Is it essential to the story that Caleb look around at that specific moment?
Can the story still move forward if the actor playing Caleb looks down
as he speaks? Or looks around after he says, "...so come on in."?

Very often in a screenplay less is better. Making the read as smooth as you
can leads to a better experience for the reader.
I don't have a great reason why he needs to be looking around as he says it. It just seemed natural that he would be speaking and looking around as the thought occurs to him. Perhaps this is too much like directing on paper.
I think the IDEA @directorik might be getting at is this... EVERYTHING you WRITE in a screenplay needs to be thought out. Screenplays are so short that there really is NO ROOM for superfluous information... In my humble opinion? Especially when it comes to READING THEM. You want that read to FLOW like nobody's business. You NEVER want something you've written to take anyone out of the story -- even if it's for a second.

You can do anything in a first draft and OFTEN SHOULD do ANYTHING in a first draft JUST TO FINISH it but when it's time to rewrite? You need to HUNKER DOWN and analyze EVERYTHING you've put into that screenplay and ask yourself if it PUSHES the STORY FORWARD. Is this information we really and truly NEED to know? If NOT? Probably best to cut it or rewrite it so that it provides information that moves the story forward.

Then? You have to do all this in an entertaining way so that we WANT to keep turning the pages and find out what happens next.

A great test (during the rewrite process) is to take something OUT if you're not sure about it and see if anything in the STORY is actually LOST after taking it out. If NOT? Then ask yourself WHY you put it in there in the first place and if you can't answer that? Consider eliminating it. OR? If your answer is vague and not much of a reason?

Same answer.