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I'm writing a TV spec script for fun, and was just wondering how I would denote laughter in unison from a bunch of sailors on a boat. Would it just be something like:

SAILORS IN BOAT (in unison) Hahahahahahahahahahah

? Or would I just describe it in the description but not in the dialogue? Thanks.

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Do it in the description. Compare these two options:


This option tells the actors exactly what they have to say, and it looks clunky.

All the sailors in the boat start laughing in unison.

This option, on the other hand, gives a good short description of what the actors should do. You can also modify it a bit by having them all laugh exactly the same and/or stopping as soon as someone signals for them to stop.

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I thought in general you weren't supposed to put any dialogue in the action part? – Ser Pounce Oct 5 '13 at 10:03
You're right, you don't put dialog in the description, but the term 'laughing' is not considered dialog, as each actor can laugh a different way. By spelling out the laugh ("hahahaha"), THAT is dialog. You can also use the description to get background actors to talk amongst themselves or murmur in agreement to something someone else says - none of that is actual dialog. – Barry Hammer Oct 10 '13 at 12:58
Makes sense, thank you. – Ser Pounce Oct 10 '13 at 13:18

I would suggest the following:

- SAILORS IN BOAT Hahahahahahaha

The reason for this is that the sailors are already referred to in plural form ("SAILORS" as opposed to "SAILOR") and thus makes the "in unison" unnecessary.

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