A parenthetical is a note or direction to the actor/director on how a particular line should be performed. Being as such, you will want to use them sparingly, as you do not want to impede on the job of the actor or director.

Watch the video below for some proper formatting examples! 👇

__________________________________________________________________

General Rule

A parenthetical should appear on it's own line, be short, not a complete sentence and only apply to the character speaking. If it is long enough to merit a full sentence, it should be formatted as an action line and vice versa.

Like this:

              SAM
       (under his breath)
I like your shoes.

__________________________________________________________________

Capitalization

A parenthetical should never appear in ALL CAPS. When referencing a proper noun the first letter may be capitalized.  

Like this:

              SAM
I'm telling you, it was at least six
feet long and 200 pounds
        (off of Chris's sardonic
        face)
I swear!

__________________________________________________________________

Beats

When indicating a pause or adjustment in a speech, end the first part of the speech with an ellipsis ( ... ) and on its own line insert the word beat (all lowercase) enclosed in parentheses. The second part of the speech should start with an ellipses after the parenthetical as well.

Like this:

              JOHN
Hey, about last night...
         (beat)
...I was really drunk. I know that
doesn't justify the things I said.

 

Did this answer your question?