Don’t write music cues into your script. First of all, that’s not your job. In features, that job belongs to the director. In television, that job belongs to the showrunner. Number two, if it’s a popular music cue, it’s going to cost a fortune, right? And you don’t have that kind of money. You can’t spend that money. That’s the producer’s job, not your job. And if it’s a lesser-known cue, some kind of hidden gem that you and only a handful of people know and you’re proud to put it, you introduce it to the world. Well, whoever’s reading your script is not going to get that reference. So it’s just going to take them out of the moment. They don’t know of that song. It’s just going to ruin the moment.

The most important reason not to put music cues into your script is because the only reason you’re doing it is because you want to convey some kind of emotion or mood in a scene. And that’s the only job that you have as a writer, right? And that means you’re failing your job if you’re not doing that. You have to convey emotion with your dialogue and the action lines in between the dialogue. And if you’re not doing that, you are failing the only job that you have. And the reason why you don’t know how to do that is because you probably haven’t taken a screenwriting class. Or you haven’t taken the right screenwriting class. But this is 101 stuff. This is your responsibility to convey that emotion with your writing.

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Michael Jamin, Showrunner, TV Writer, Author

Michael Jamin

For the past 26 years, Michael Jamin has been a professional television writer/showrunner. His credits include King of the Hill, Beavis & Butthead, Wilfred, Maron, Just Shoot Me, Rules of Engagement, Brickleberry, Tacoma FD and many more.

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