Following up on last week’s article, Synthian took it upon himself to count how often screenwriters are actually using them, resulting in “a semi-random sampling of successful multi-decade, multi-genre writers vs their own parentheticals.”

The following numbers do not include non-dialog parentheses such as (O.S.), (V.O.) (MORE), or (CONT’D). They represent only dialogical parentheticals such as (through the megaphone) as well as (beat)s and (pause)s.

Brian Helgeland

THE POSTMAN: 137 pages
161 parentheticals
1.17 parentheticals per page

LA CONFIDENTIAL: 110 pages
99 parentheticals
.9 parentheticals per page

MAN ON FIRE: 128 pages
76 parentheticals
.59 parentheticals per page

Brian Helgeland’s average parentheticals per page: .88

John August

BIG FISH: 124 pages
97 parentheticals
.78 parentheticals per page

THE NINES: 100 pages
57 parentheticals
.57 parentheticals per page

CHARLIE’S ANGELS: 104 pages
109 parentheticals
1.04 parentheticals per page

John August’s average parentheticals per page: .79

Other writers

DAVID WEBB PEOPLES, 12 MONKEYS: 150 pages
144 parentheticals
.96 parentheticals per page

AARON SORKIN, A FEW GOOD MEN: 149 pages
225 parentheticals
1.51 parentheticals per page

J.F. LAWTON, PRETTY WOMAN: 126 pages
143 parentheticals
1.13 parentheticals per page

TED ELLIOTT & TERRY ROSSIO, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: 139 pages
152 parentheticals
1.09 parentheticals per page

With this (obviously limited) sample of 10 screenplays, we find a cohort of successful screenwriters using an average of .97 parentheticals per page. That’s higher than I would have guessed. I’m also surprised to find myself on the lower end of parenthesists.