Variety Styleguide – Reviews

Updated 9/1/2006
Styleguide: A-C | D-G| H-L| M-R | S-Z | REVIEWS | PEOPLE, PICS AND MORE

To suggest corrections, additions or changes, email gary.north@variety.com

TO SEARCH FOR AN ENTRY:
Hold down the CONTROL key,
tap the F key,
type in what you are looking for,
then tap the RETURN (or ENTER) key.

If not listed below, consult the following references in the following order:

AP Stylebook; Webster’s II New College Dictionary; www.m-w.com; www.dictionary.com

———————-

— country names (just below film name): instead of adjectival versions: Hungary, not Hungarian, etc.

In weekly, country names are IN CAPS; lc in daily

======================================

— commas vs. slashes in credits:

  • At top: slashes separate production companies by country; otherwise just use commas:

    — A Such and Such (Hungary)/So and So (Peru)/ This & That (France) production…

    — A Such and Such, So and So, This & That production…

  • In legit tabbed actor credits: commas separate two or more roles played by the same actor; slashes separate two or more aspects of a character (such as in Shakespearean plays when, say, a lass pretends to be a lad) or two actors who alternate a role at various shows. Examples:

    John Smith, Courier, Gen. Sprowl … Larry Olivier

    Rosalind/Ganymede … Mary Martin

    Mr. Greek Chorus … John Smith/Roger Daltrey

======================================

— elipses in credits (“tabbed actors”): Character Name SPACE TAB SPACE Actor’s Name

======================================

— genres:

* film: listed in credits only if it is “docu” or “animated”

* TV: listed in all credits: series, special, docu, miniseries, movie; we don’t say “sitcom,” “drama” or “reality series” — if needed, work those words into the main text.

* legit: not listed

======================================

— “in association with…” in credits:

* Film: no comma preceding this prepositional phrase unless it precedes another prepositional phrase:

Example 1: An ABC presentation of a DEF production in association with GHI Services.

Example 2: An ABC presentation of a DEF production, in association with GHI Services, with the cooperation of JKL Film Fund.

* Legit: usually a comma preceding this phrase, because it is usually followed by more verbiage:

Example: An ABC presentation of a DEF production, in association with GHI Services, of a play in two acts by His Nibs.

======================================

— mini reviews (see also attached examples):

* limited to 2 grafs, first is bold; total of 190 words max.

* tagline instead of byline.

* credits omit sound, associate producer and assistant director.

* original language title and language of dialouge are part of the body of credits rather than on separate lines.

* cast is listed in run-in graf without character names.

======================================

  • order of credits:

    * for film:

A xxx release of a xx presentation of a xxx production. (International sales: xx, New York). Produced by xxx. Executive producers, xx, xx, xx. Co-producers, xx, xx.

Directed by xx. Screenplay, xx. Camera (color, widescreen), xx; editor, xx; music, xx; production designer, xx; art director, xx; set decorator; costume designer, xxx; sound, xx; special effects, xx; makeup, xxxx; choreography, xx; [etc., xx;] line producer, xx; associate producer, xx; assistant director, xx; casting, xx. Reviewed at Locarno Film Festival (competing [or: non-competing]), N.Y., March 11, 2002 [date not bold]. MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 101 MIN.

Frog Prince/Count Solof … Freddie Prinz Jr. [compare slash with comma in legit]**

Queen Elizabeth … Cate Dench

Everyone Else … Geoffrey Rush

With: xxx, xxx, xx, xx.

(Farsi, Mandarin dialogue)

[note: no period after the word “dialogue”; also no word “and”]

[note: Use lower-case AP style in references to two or more fests: (Also in Deauville Film Festival.) but: (Also in Cannes, Toronto film festivals.)]

[note: We now don’t include “Intl.” in fest titles: Cannes Film Festival, Deauville Film Festival, etc.; exception for now: Pusan Intl. Film Festival, aka PIFF]

boldfacing:

Please note that our style in film credits for all reviews seen at film festivals is to boldface the festival and the section within that festival:

… casting, Lucy Bevan. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (noncompeting, closer), May 20, 2005. Running time: 136 MIN.

If the film is seen on videocassette, but is in a festival:

…casting, Lucy Bevan. Reviewed on videocasette, May 20, 2005. (In Cannes Film Festival — noncompeting, closer.) Running time: 136 MIN.

If the film is seen in a fest, and is also in another fest:

…casting, Lucy Bevan. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (noncompeting, closer), May 20, 2005. (Also in Tribeca Film Festival.) Running time: 136 MIN.

If the film is seen on videocassette and is in more than one fest:

…casting, Lucy Bevan. Reviewed on videocasette, May 20, 2005. (In Cannes Film Festival — noncompeting, closer; Tribeca Film Festival.) Running time: 136 MIN.

= = = =

* for TV:

(say “movie” in credits for a telepic; “telepic” is OK in stories and reviews’ bodies)

Filmed in Toronto by ABC Prods. in association with DEF Studios. Executive producer, xx; producer, xx; director, xx; writers, xx, xx [or writer-creator, xx]; camera, xx; editor, xx; music, xx; production designer, xx; costume designer, xx [rarely listed]; sound, xx; casting, xx. 4 HOURS. [note omission of words “Running time:”]

Frog Prince … Freddie Prinz Jr.

Queen Elizabeth … Cate Dench

Everyone Else … Geoffrey Rush

With: xxx, xxx, xx, xx.

Host: Douglas Fairbanks.

* for legit:

A Joseph Papp Co. production, in association with the Jean Kearn Actors Studio, of a musical in two acts, with music by xx, lyrics by xx, book by xx. Directed by xx. Choreography by xxx. Musical direction [or: Musical staging], xx. Set(s), xx; costumes, xx; lighting, xx; sound, xx; orchestrations, xx; music arrangements, xx; production stage manager, xx. Opened, reviewed March 12, 1992. [Or: Opened March 12, 1992. Reviewed March 8.] Running time: 2 HOURS, 40 MIN. [Producers generally are NOT included; only production companies.]

Frog Prince, Frank Smith … Freddie Prinz Jr. [compare with slash in legit]**

Queen Elizabeth … Cate Dench

Everyone Else … Geoffrey Rush

With: xxx, xxx, xx, xx.

Songs: “If Only,” “There Was You,” “How Green is My Garden.”

* for concerts:

Presented inhouse. [or: Presented by Roger Smith.] Band: Steve Smith, John Smith, Trevor Smith.

[Note: title should be band or performer’s name; second line should give (venue/city; xx capacity; $xx top)]

**Note: In both legit and film, if one character has two names in the show (vs. playing two distinctly different characters), use a slash:

Gollum/Smeagol . . . Andy Serkis

======================================

— photo captions: Review photo captions, especially 2-column ones, should include a verb and end in a period; they should NOT include the reviewer’s opinion — only factual info such as producer’s name, who’s directing the play or film, etc. Try to reserve partial sentences and open-ended wording for V-page cutlines.

======================================

punctuation

* film reviews: no period in standalone line that says (Catalonian and Dutch dialogue)

* TV reviews (beneath show title): only one semicolon, no comma between day and date, and day is abbreviated.

Example: (Sitcom; NBC, Tues. March 17, 9:30 p.m.)

* legit and concert reviews: all semicolons except between name of theater and city in a daily review (city is a dateline in weekly reviews):

Example of daily: (Martin Beck Theater, New York; 1,422 seats; $75 top)

* book reviews (for weekly): all semicolons

Example: (HARCOURT PRESS; 335 PGS.; $35)

======================================

titles of foreign films (when following the English name): CAPS in parentheses in daily, c/lc in weekly

======================================

— times:

* TV: programs 3 hours or less should be noted in minutes: 30 MIN., 120 MIN., but 4 HOURS. Note that the words “Running time:” are NOT used in TV reviews.

* Legit: hours and minutes: 1 HOUR, 10 MIN.

* Films: Minutes only: 182 MIN.

======================================

— Theater: not Theatre, even in a proper name (even if the marquee or signage is shown in a photograph as Theatre)

======================================

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