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Dialogue - How do you put emphasis on certain words?


For example,

if I want to say

"I WAS busy" as opposed to the straight-forward "I was busy"

How do I write that in my screenplay? Do I siimply just capitalize the letters?


I use italics but I’m not sure if that’s right.



If you use caps, people might get the impression that they’re shouting or screaming the word. But please don’t use this as an invitation to italic every other word.


I had always wondered that too. Thanks.


Though, it’s truly up to you and whatever you prefer. Italics is just my preference.

I’ve seen people underline words as well, but I think that’s confusing.


I have always wondered that! I use italics usually but was unsure if that was acceptable. Thanks.


let the director decide! unless the emphasis is crucial, then it would be italics or CAPS


When I write, I picture the actor putting the emphasis on the line. So I guess it is up to the director, directing the actor.


[quote=“Lil Dice”]
let the director decide! unless the emphasis is crucial, then it would be italics or CAPS

Yes, the director has the ultimate word, whether the actor puts emphasis on the word or not. However, it doesn’t hurt to italic words that truly deserve an emphasis, if anything it just helps create the visual image in the reader’s mind. It’s not like it gets in the way of the story like including camera directions in the action does, or a crap load of parentheticals, because it’s already a part of the dialogue.

If the director decides not to use your emphasis on certain words, and wants his actors to deliver the line a little bit differently, trust me that’s the NOT the worst thing that can happen to your script. They can take out scenes, add scenes, change scenes, change dialogue completely, change the chronological order, add characters, remove characters… change characters, There can be a lot more to be pissed off over, trust me.