Free Support and Outreach for Colorado's Filmmaking Community
Dee, I'm new to all this, but I think unless it's a shooting script, you don't need to capitalize or otherwise single out your sound effects. I'd make it an action line, informal and conversational, like:
Jim and Bob laugh and talk in the background, but Susie can't tell what they're saying.
I don't know, maybe that's still too wordy?
I agree with everything Jim says, especially the common fault of rushing a project into production
and then resulting in something which looks like a "student film" or "home movie"; too many of our
low-budget Colorado projects have those faults in common. The late Alfred Hitchcock once said
that "...Preproduction is the most inexpensive stage of production", that is before the cameras start
to roll. For the good of the cause I would like to add my recommendations of EXCELLENT resource
material (which I am using myself) for script development. They are the classic by John Truby
entitled "The Anatomy Of Story", also; "20 Master Plots and how to build them", by Ronald Tobias;
also, "The Short Screenplay" by Dan Gurskis. You couldn't go wrong with any of those.
This is why I believe that the two greatest gifts a writer can have is patience and a good support group that will give honest feedback on a script.
Unless you're a film student on a deadline, there's no reason to rush a first or second draft into production. Chances are the people and resources you need will be around another couple of months, so why not put that script away and look at it with fresh eyes a few weeks down the road? Once your free of that initial enthusiasm and passion, you're able to look at your work objectively, and will see where you might have gone wrong.
Just as important...or maybe more so, is having people who will honestly rip your script to shreds if you deserve it. Nothing is more damaging than having a group of pals who tell you how great your script is, no matter what. A better person to have is an objective reader who has no problem reducing you to tears because your 'The Last Starfighter' fan script is a huge pile of failure. Does it hurt? Yes. But would you rather have a better screen play, or surround yourself with people who tell you every idea you have is brilliant? [We call this 'George Lucas Syndrome']
Sometimes a script is born into this world a screaming monster ready to take on all comers, but most need time and nurturing to get where they need to be.