Street Slang For Scriptwriting

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If you’re writing a script, one way that you can bring it to life is to let your characters speak in current street slang. That’s the advice from the creators of Raindance, which promotes independent film in the UK. They have suggested a number of current slang phrases to give your characters some street cred. Here are some that caught my eye:

  • Seagull manager

    A manager who flies in, makes a lot of noise, craps on everything, and then leaves.


    Single Income, Two Children, Oppressive Mortgage. What yuppies turn into when they have children and one of them stops working to stay home with the kids or start a ‘home business’.

  • 404

    Someone who’s clueless. From the World Wide Web error message ‘404 Not Found’ meaning that the requested document could not be located.

There are lots more fun phrases to see. A full list is here.

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5 thoughts on “Street Slang For Scriptwriting”

  1. Nice article. I never thought of using the ‘404 Not Found’ error for anything but the web. SITCOM is totally new to me.

    Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  2. I would only consider using current slang if I was sure the script was to be used now and no more…

    One thing that made Douglas Adams’ “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency” feel so dated to me was the mentioning of brand names
    If you want to sound dated just use phrases like “He had a pentium with TWOHUNDREDFIFTY megs of ram – wow”.
    So “He’s a total 404” will date your novel to around 2005 to someone picking it up 5 years from now who may remember when that was a web 1.0 related word…
    A bit like when someone in a pre-mobile phone movie will FAX you something and is proud to have such modern equipment (Think Die Hard)
    On a related note – good science fiction does not use current slang – For this reason whenever I want to read a book in a new language I pick up an SF novel in that language – historic novels set in Asia are also good since the slang will be Chinese or Japanese…

  3. Michael, it’s true that slang can date a film, but it can also add a sort of historical local color and authenticity, which might be appropriate in some cases.

  4. Oh for sure – I was really thinking of how many times watching a somewhat older film with some technical comment really made me laugh at the insistence of the writer to mention something cool and amazing – and 3-5 years later it is soooo old 🙂
    Like when I went to a Disneyworld “Tomorrows world” or such, and it still had a “In the future we will use *MICROWAVE ENERGY* to cook” display

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