Other Uses of Parentheticals

There are several other ways Parentheticals may be useful.

Foreign Languages:

When a character needs to speak in a foreign language, it isn't necessary for the writer to go through four years of college to learn the new language. The writer can simply write the Dialogue in English and use a Parenthetical to indicate that the line should be delivered in a different language.

Here's an example:

Of course, in the example above, the director will have the actor deliver the line in Spanish, but unless the audience understands Spanish, they'll be clueless as to what the character is saying.

If it is important for an English-speaking audience to know what is being said, a writer can cue that the Dialogue should be subtitled within the same Parenthetical.

Here's a revised example:

Now let's say there are two or more characters in the scene speaking Spanish in conversation. It would grow tiresome to see (in Spanish; subtitled) after each and every Character Heading.

In this situation, a writer can dispense with the use of Parentheticals all together by indicating the foreign language and the subtitles in a Direction paragraph, making for fewer Parentheticals (always good) and tighter writing.

Sotto Voce:

Sotto Voce is an Italian (or Latin) term that means "soft voice." It has been used in screenwriting for decades to indicate when a character is speaking quietly, either talking to themselves or whispering into another character's ear.

Here are two ways to indicate it with a Parenthetical:

Either way is fine.

However, many screenplay experts warn that Sotto Voce is slowly being eradicated from use and warn not to use it at all. Personally, I'm not going to mark it out if I see it in a screenplay I'm editing, unless I see it used too often within the same screenplay.

If you decide to do something else, here are a couple of suggestions:

A writer could also use (aside) or (whispering) as alternatives to (sotto).

With Regards To:

"re:" is a term seen from time to time within Parentheticals. It means "with regards to" and helps to indicate what (or whom) a character may be talking about.

That definition isn't very clear, so here are two examples to illustrate my meaning:

Get it?

"re:" isn't used very often and should be used sparingly, if at all. I just wanted to make writers aware of the possibility. I've actually never come across it in any of the screenplays of my clients, and there have been thousands of those.