Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thursday Throwback - “She bends over, exposing her ample cleavage.”

This post first appeared on Monday, March 16, 2009

“She bends over, exposing her ample cleavage.”

I see that line, or some variation thereof, FAR too often in the first fifteen pages of scripts I read – a completely gratuitous cleavage shot. There are a lot of aspiring screenwriters out there in need of cold showers. Sex and sexy girls aren’t bad – just make sure there’s a reason you’re getting your hot-bodied police detective to parade around in her Victoria’s Secrets.

Ironically, I get the sense that a lot of writers put scenes like this in as a way of claiming they’re writing strong female characters. If a woman uses her assets cunningly to distract and manipulate a man, she’s got to be smart, right?

Wrong. We see right through that, and usually the actress will too. In fact, it might even appear degrading to the characters – both the one doing the flashing and the one being flashed. Sometimes that’s exactly what the scene needs and if it serves a function, go for it.

But if your only thought here is “BOOBIES!” your reader is just going to roll his eyes and call that a clean strike.

And in case you’re putting this in there to make sure that your lead actress is stunning, ask yourself this: when was the last time Hollywood ever cast an ugly girl in the lead?


  1. I don't know, I think some of the women toted as beautiful by Hollywood are quite ugly - at least when you look strictly at their face. Only reason to have the boobies exposed really is to distract from some of the major butherfaces on the big screen.

  2. "As he crosses the street the wind whips his kilt over his head, exposing his eye-wateringly ample dangly bits."

    How strong and in control of his sexuality is that character!

    *off to put that into every first 15 pages of everything I've ever written*

  3. Even though I'm single I've been reading Rabbi Schumley Botech's book The Kosher Sutra and got to where he tells his daughter, who wants to make modest clothing that's attractive, not frumpy, that her slogan should be "Modest is the new sexy." Made me right away think of this blog post.

    Anyway, I'm thinking this book should be required reading of all hopeful script writers. Then maybe they would write women who use their brains to be powerful and independent, not their boobs.

    (Though I feel somewhat hypocritical as I do wear things when I'm not working to expose my own ample cleavage. However it is the only time men treat me like a woman and not like "one of the guys.")

  4. after the crotch scene with sharon stone, a writer's gotta really up the ante for this kinda stuff.