How to Write Action in a Screenplay

Writing action while dialogue is happening, makes your script more exciting, according to several professional screenwriters.

The most common way to answer that question is below.

How do you write action in the middle of dialogue? You write action during dialogue by writing your action line then writing the character name and dialogue and continuing with the action in the previous line.

Let’s look at the opening Deadpool scene where Deadpool, played by Ryan Reynolds, is fighting a group of armed men on a freeway in an SUV.

Deadpool gives funny commentary during the entire fight. Talking in action.

Deadpool (2016)

Now that you have your basic answer. And see from the video how its usually done.

There are more examples I can show you, like if you want every action to have a word attached. Or if the actions are quick.

Check those out below.

Different Ways of Writing Action in the middle of Dialogue

Yes, there are different ways of writing this. I’ve found three ways you can see seak in action while your character is speaking. 

1.) The Parenthetical

Parentheticals are like instruction typically under a character’s name that gives a reader a sense of how the character is feeling while speaking. 

Now, I don’t recommend you use this way but if its a small one liner you might be able to get away with it.

The action of the character kicking the body is in the middle of the dialogue. 

This method is used best for quick bits of action. Not precisely long strung out action scenes. 

2.) Action Lines

If you don’t have more action than dialogue, you might want to try writing it usually within the action line itself. 

There is nothing wrong with this, and its best done if you have several actions to describe.

Why You Should Write Action in the Middle of Dialogue

There are a couple of practical reasons to take this approach to writing screenplays. 

Action during conversation is one of the best ways to give exposition. 

It’s like hiding the candy in the Koolaid if you will. It is making your exposition more visual.

They talk about this in uncut gyms. When everyone is in the shop there’s so much movement but they are feeding you things you need to know at the same time. 


Ok, people all finished here. 

In this post, you learned every way possible to write action during dialogue in a script. Its pretty simple, but I can understand how it can seem like it’s not. 

Everything when it comes to script formatting seems a little elusive at times. 

Now its time to hear from you:

Did I miss anything?

Did I answer your question fully?

What method are you going to use? Either way, let me hear about it in the comments below. 

Happy Writing.

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