Proper pointless

There’s something I have to get off my chest.

Most of you will think this is nitpicking, most of you won’t care. Some of you will recognise the legitimacy of this gripe, but will also realise it doesn’t really matter. Some of you might agree. One or two of you might, just might, share my unreasonable outrage.

Those one or two should really get a life.

Seriously, this just doesn’t matter in any way, shape or form.

Except it does. To me.

I’ve been reading scripts again, something I know I should stay away from since it just upsets me; but on this occasion I feel I should speak because …

‘Beat’ doesn’t mean fucking ‘pause’.

It fucking doesn’t.

Stop it.

Now.

You cunts.

What the fuck is wrong with you? Do you think you’re writing down musical notation? Are you explaining to the (obviously fuckwitted) actors how to leave a gap between the set up and the punchline? Maybe you’re writing beat because you think it’s shorter than pause? Are you that fucking lazy?

If you want a pause in the dialogue, write the word pause. That’s its fucking job, because, guess fucking what? Pause means pause.

Funny that.

If you don’t want to use the word pause, why not add an ellipsis? … How difficult is that?

Not difficult. Not fucking difficult at all.

Okay, so some of you may argue an ellipsis signifies something is missing from the sentence, not a pause. You can fuck off as well. There is something missing from the sentence at that point – all the fucking words.

Beat, in case you’re interested and for some reason don’t know, means to change subject or emotion. It signifies the following sentence is about something else.

                    BURT
What do you call a man with a spade in his head?
           (pause)
Doug!

Is correct whilst at the same time, only funny to six year olds.

                    BURT
You're fat, you're ugly and you smell.
           (beat)
What's on telly tonight?

Is also correct.

Swap beat for pause and they wouldn’t be … EVEN THOUGH THEY WOULD BOTH STILL MAKE COMPLETE FUCKING SENSE, PROVING THIS WHOLE ARGUMENT (AND THUS THIS POST) TO BE COMPLETELY FUCKING POINTLESS.

It doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t matter. Do whatever the hell you want, no one cares.

Except me.
(beat)
But, luckily, my opinions don’t count.

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Categories: Bored, Random Witterings, Rants, Sad Bastard, Someone Else's Way | 10 Comments

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10 thoughts on “Proper pointless

  1. Dave Robson

    Ahhh, the sound of a large axe hitting a grinder.
    I had absolutely no idea some scriptwriters substituted the word pause for beat. It does beg the question WHY?
    Well, I guess you have your annoyances in all vocations.

    Take it easy Phil.

    Dave

    • Weirdly, I wrote this rant months ago and then decided not to post it on the basis it was probably completely ill-informed and just generally wrong.

      Not sure why it’s surfaced now.

      I’m not even convinced it bothers me anymore.

  2. I agree (though with fewer expletives). Clearly I need a life.

    I never use “beat” – mind you, I never use “pause” either.

    I figure out something appropriate for the specific instance.

  3. I use beat.

    I don’t use pause.

    I don’t think that I’ve ever used beat when it should have been pause.

    (beat)

    But I could be wrong.

  4. I’m using the Doug joke!

  5. I never realised this. Thankfully, I never used it, because I thought it was a stupid idea to tell the actor that anyway.

    And I’ve read a quantity of misinformation on the interwebs that implies otherwise.

    Thank you for a definitive answer. 😉

  6. *sigh* It matters to me.

    When I first started out I used to confuse beat and pause, until I read the real definition of beat (it may have been in a book on acting? – or it may have been in a screenwriting blog?).

    Either way I never really liked beat as a pause, it made no sense to me.

    So now I too sharpen my axe whenever I see it misused. But that’s because I’m a pedantic contrary b*st*rd … who is supposed to be writing not procrastinating. *rolls eyes*

    Bye!

  7. Isn’t a beat an amount of time (a heart beat) and a pause is longer.
    I use a pause when the subject is changed.

    “Would you like some tea”
    pause
    “It wasn’t your fault it was mine”

    as opposed to
    “would you like some tea?”
    beat
    “sugar?”

    Beats are more likely something you say in direction to actors. “stick a beat in there” I wouldnt say “short pause or a pause” as its not specific enough.

  8. good point, well made

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