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Common Errors and How to Fix Them

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  • Common Errors and How to Fix Them

    IMPORTANT: Please do NOT post errors you encounter with your script below. If the error you encountered is not listed here, try searching for a solution using the search bar at the top. If you are still stuck, then start your own thread.

    Here are the common errors, their causes, as well as how to fix them, arranged in alphabetical order.

    The short URL to this forum post is http://bit.ly/DirectingErrors. There is a slightly more organised version available on Google Docs at http://bit.ly/directingerrors. (Note the difference between the two URLs; they are case sensitive.)

    If you have an error that's not on this list, or an error on this list caused by something unlisted, let me know and I'll add it in.
    I'll need a concrete example (i.e. the script) to replicate and then test it. You can either post below or PM me.


    ERROR:
    Bad Script End: Script can’t end with a scene change

    Cause: Last line of the script was a scene change, such as INT. BLACK - NIGHT.
    Solution: Add @pause for a beat below the scene change temporarily until you add whatever else you want to add. (If not, remove the scene change if you’re not using it.)




    ERROR:
    Bad Script End: Make sure you have dialogue after a character name

    Cause: Last line of the script was a character name, such as BOB.
    Solution: Add some dialogue below.




    ERROR:
    Bad Sound Placement: Sound must appear before dialogue

    Cause: The last line of your if (...) block, elif(...) block, else block OR choice option was a music. This also applies if you were using music off, the signal to cut the music.
    choice
    “Option” {
    music ambient_quietcity
    CHAR
    Hello
    CHAR2
    Hi
    music off
    }
    Solution: Move the music statement to above the last line of dialogue.
    choice
    “Option” {
    music ambient_quietcity
    CHAR
    Hello
    music off
    CHAR2
    Hi
    }




    ERROR:
    Can’t have one character immediately following another.

    Cause: Two characters following each other without dialogue OR the dialogue for one character is in all-caps with no punctuation.
    #1:
    CHARACTER
    CHARACTER2
    Seriously?
    #2:
    CHARACTER
    AHHHHHHHHH
    Solution: Add some dialogue (shown in red below) between the characters, or add some punctuation if it’s due to the second reason.
    #1:
    CHARACTER
    What should I do?
    CHARACTER2
    Seriously?
    #2:
    CHARACTER
    AHHHHHHHHH!




    WARNING:
    Cannot have labels inside {}. Found stray label “label_name” There is likely a stray { above it

    label_name is a placeholder name for any label name.
    Cause: There was a label within a block that is marked out by curly braces. Usually caused by having a dressing game within an if (...) block.
    Blocks are given different colours to make them easier to differentiate.
    if (GET_DRESSED) {
    label dressinggame
    CHARACTER
    What should I wear?
    # Rest of dressing game here
    } else {
    # Something else
    }
    # What goes after
    Solution: Remove the label from within the curly braces. If it’s because of a dressing game, then move the dressing game out and connect the script properly by making use of gotos. The structure will need to be changed.
    In red is what has been added. Blocks retain the same colours as above.
    if (GET_DRESSED) {
    goto dressinggame
    } else {
    # Something else
    goto after
    }
    label dressinggame
    CHARACTER
    What should I wear?
    # Rest of dressing game here
    label after
    # What goes after
    When trying to reorganise, view each chunk of script that goes into each block as a single entity or a group. Group them (in your head) and assign a label to the beginning of each block if needed. Think of how to connect them by using gotos.




    ERROR:
    choices must follow dialog immediately, not a branch.

    Cause: Not having dialogue before the choice keyword, and the last non-empty line above the keyword was a closing brace or a command such as @CHAR is action.
    Solution: Add some dialogue (shown in red below) before the choice keyword.
    CHARACTER
    What should I do?
    choice
    “Option 1” {
    ...
    } “Option 2” {
    ...
    }




    WARNING:
    Missing Character: CHARACTER_NAME

    CHARACTER_NAME is a placeholder name for the missing character name that was found in the script.
    Cause: There is no character with the script name CHARACTER_NAME.
    Solution: Make sure that the name is spelt correctly and that the character has been created for the story.




    WARNING:
    Missing Place: SCENE_NAME

    SCENE_NAME is a placeholder name for the missing scene name that was found in the script.
    Cause: There is no scene in theart catalog with that name. Usually caused by not having the correct spacing before and after the dashes or after the period, such as: INT. BLACK-NIGHT, or not using the full name.
    Solution: If the scene truly does not exist, then you need to pick another one from the art catalog. It’s not possible to invent your own scene names.
    Otherwise, make sure that the spacing is correct and that you have used the full name of the scene. Generally, there is a space after the period and both before and after the dash. HOWEVER, there are a few scenes that break this rule, such as:
    INT. CAFE- DAY
    INT. STORAGE ROOM- DAY
    INT. LAVISH ENTRY HALL2 -DAY
    EXT. HELICOPTER LANDING PAD- DAY
    EXT. HELICOPTER LANDING PAD- NIGHT
    The best bet is always to copy and paste the full name exactly as listed in the art catalog.




    WARNING:
    No action matches “COMMAND

    COMMAND is a placeholder for the erroneous command that was found in the script.
    Cause: The command was not recognised by the parser. Usually caused by incorrect positions used such as “left” instead of “screen left”.
    Solution: Check the syntax as outlined in the guides and make sure your command follows it correctly. The most relevant are:Stage Direction,Advanced Character Placement, andSimultaneous Stage Directions.




    ERROR:
    Node already has background

    Cause: Having two (or more) scene changes successively.
    INT. STATIC - DAY
    INT. BLACK - NIGHT
    Solution: Add @pause for a beat after each scene change, except the last one if it’s not required.
    INT. STATIC - DAY
    @pause for a beat
    INT. BLACK - NIGHT




    WARNING:
    Node already has music “music1” Cant add music “music2

    music1 and music2 are placeholder names for any sound name or “off”, the signal to cut the music.
    Cause: Having the two lines of music follow each other successively. This will happen even if music1 is off, the signal to cut the music.
    Solution: Make sure there is dialogue in between if the cause is the first, or remove the music as it won’t even play since there’s no duration for it to play.




    ERROR:
    There is a { on line X that does not have a matching }

    X is a placeholder for the actual line number.
    Cause: Curly braces are not properly matched. The closing brace is missing.
    CHARACTER
    What should I do?
    choice
    “Option 1” {
    ...
    } “Option 2” {
    ...
    Solution: Add a closing brace. Remember that curly braces should come in pairs: One opening { and one closing }. Together, they mark out what is called a block of script.
    CHARACTER
    What should I do?
    choice
    “Option 1” {
    ...
    } “Option 2” {
    ...
    }




    ERROR:
    Unexpected BLOCK_END: }

    Cause: There was a closing brace } where the parser did not expect (highlighted in blue in the example below).
    CHARACTER
    What should I do?
    choice
    } “Option 1” {
    ...
    } “Option 2” {
    ...
    }
    Solution: Remove the extra closing brace.
    CHARACTER
    What should I do?
    choice
    “Option 1” {
    ...
    } “Option 2” {
    ...
    }
    Remember that curly braces should come in pairs: One opening { and one closing }. Together, they mark out what is called a block of script, thus the name of the error Unexpected BLOCK_END.




    ERROR:
    Unexpected CHARACTER: CHARACTER

    CHARACTER is placeholder for a character, not an actor character but a letter character. Meaning something like “a”, or the (actor) character’s name.
    Cause: Usually caused by missing an opening brace {.
    CHARACTER
    What should I do?
    choice
    “Option 1” {
    CHARACTER
    I should do Option 1.
    } “Option 2”
    CHARACTER
    I should do Option 2.
    } “Option 3” {
    CHARACTER
    I should do Option 3.
    }
    Solution: Add the missing brace in. Remember that curly braces should come in pairs: One opening { and one closing }.
    CHARACTER
    What should I do?
    choice
    “Option 1” {
    CHARACTER
    I should do Option 1.
    } “Option 2” {
    CHARACTER
    I should do Option 2.
    } “Option 3” {
    CHARACTER
    I should do Option 3.
    }




    ERROR:
    Unexpected CHOICE: choice

    Cause: Not having dialogue before the choice keyword, and the last non-empty line above the keyword was a label.
    Solution: Add some dialogue (shown in red below) before the choice keyword, but after the label.
    label this_label
    CHARACTER
    What should I do?
    choice
    “Option 1” {
    ...
    } “Option 2” {
    ...
    }




    ERROR:
    Unexpected DIALOG: DIALOG

    DIALOG is a placeholder for whatever came after the choice.

    Cause: Usually caused by leaving a blank line between the choice keyword and the first choice option.
    CHARACTER
    What should I do?
    choice

    “Option 1” {
    ...
    } “Option 2” {
    ...
    }
    Solution: Remove the blank line.
    CHARACTER
    What should I do?
    choice
    “Option 1” {
    ...
    } “Option 2” {
    ...
    }




    ERROR:
    Unexpected end of input

    Cause: Last line of the script was any one of the following:
    • A label
    • Music or sound
    • Incomplete choice (Meaning there was a closing brace missing)
    Solution: Add @pause for a beat below the label/music/sound temporarily until you add whatever else you want to add. Add a closing brace } if it’s due to an incomplete choice.




    ERROR:
    Unexpected EXPRESSION: EXPRESSION

    EXPRESSION is placeholder for an expression, usually the name of a choice in this particular case.
    Cause: Not having dialogue before the choice keyword, and the last non-empty line above the keyword was a command such as @CHAR is action.
    Solution: Add some dialogue (shown in red below) before the choice keyword, but after the command.
    @CHARACTER starts think
    CHARACTER
    What should I do?
    choice (EXPRESSION)
    “Option 1” {
    ...
    } “Option 2” {
    ...
    }
    Even better, remove the command entirely:
    CHARACTER (think)
    What should I do?
    choice (EXPRESSION)
    “Option 1” {
    ...
    } “Option 2” {
    ...
    }




    ERROR:
    Unexpected GOTO: (u‘label_name’, False)

    label_name is a placeholder name for any label name.
    Cause: goto is placed right after a scene change.
    Solution: Move the goto before the scene change and remove the scene change. If you wanted the scene change to happen, place the scene change after the corresponding label.
    For example, if it was:
    INT. BLACK - NIGHT
    goto nextpart
    ...
    label nextpart
    Then change it to:
    goto nextpart
    ...
    label nextpart
    INT. BLACK - NIGHT




    ERROR:
    Unexpected SEQUENCE: SEQUENCE

    SEQUENCE is a placeholder for a sequence, usually a command.
    Cause: Having a character name followed by a command without dialogue in between, or possibly due to a missing opening brace {.
    CHARACTER
    @CHARACTER is idle
    Solution: Add dialogue after the character name, or remove the character name if it is not needed.
    If it’s due a missing opening brace, add it in. Remember that curly braces should come in pairs: One opening { and one closing }.




    ERROR:
    Unsafe character “CHAR” in label

    CHAR is a placeholder for a character.
    Cause: The label name contains characters which are not allowed, such as spaces, dashes and punctuation.
    Solution: Rename your label. It should only contain alphabets, numbers and underscores.




    WARNING:
    Unused label “label_name

    label_name is a placeholder name for any label name.
    Cause: The label label_name has not been used at all in the script. To use a label means to have a goto label_name.
    Solution: If you do not need the label, then remove it. Otherwise, include the goto where necessary.
    Last edited by WL.; 11-20-2014, 02:51 AM.

  • #2
    Very helpful!

    Comment


    • #3
      Here's one more:
      ERROR:
      Unsafe character “CHAR” in label
      CHAR is a placeholder for a character.

      Cause: The label name contains characters which are not allowed, such as spaces, dashes and punctuation.

      Solution: Rename your label. It should only contain alphabets, numbers and underscores.

      Comment


      • burninhellxx
        burninhellxx commented
        Editing a comment
        i need some help please

      • HeyitzGrace
        HeyitzGrace commented
        Editing a comment
        i need some help too!

    • #4
      This helped me a lot... Thank you!

      Comment


      • #5
        Hi everyone! I had a general question about choices, how do you make the character have to option to change or keep the outfit? EXAMPLE: Do yo want to keep "OUTFIT"? then it has the option yes or no then it goes back to the list. How can i do that?

        MY SCRIPT:
        I guess I have to go to my stupid shift now, lemme change first

        choice (OUTFIT)
        "VICTORIA JOBIE 1" {

        @VICTORIA exits left
        @VICTORIA changes into VICTORIA JOBIE 1
        @VICTORIA enters from left to screen right
        @VICTORIA faces left

        VICTORIA (admire_forward)
        OH. MY. GOD! Comfortable and cute!

        }"VICTORIA JOBIE 2" {

        @VICTORIA exits left
        @VICTORIA changes into VICTORIA JOBIE 2
        @VICTORIA enters from left to screen right
        @VICTORIA faces left

        VICTORIA (admire_forward)
        My fav from the closet!

        }"VICTORIA JOBIE 3"{

        @VICTORIA exits left
        @VICTORIA changes into VICTORIA JOBIE 3
        @VICTORIA enters from left to screen right
        @VICTORIA faces left

        VICTORIA (admire_forward)
        So pretty! I love it!


        I GUESS U WOULD PUT IT HERE?

        }

        VICTORIA (talk_crossed_arms)
        Now its time to go to stupid work.

        Comment


        • Jadee-the-owl
          Jadee-the-owl commented
          Editing a comment
          thank you!

        • storywriter1996
          storywriter1996 commented
          Editing a comment
          Could someone please direct me to where this was answered because I'm having the same problem and don't know how to fix it... When I test it, no matter if you press yes or no, it selects the outfit and moves on with the story even though I want there to be a choice as to whether or not the character selects the outfit or tries another one...

        • izprachi
          izprachi commented
          Editing a comment
          You have to make a label for example:


          label choosing_outfit

          choice
          "VICTORIA JOBIE 1" {

          Victoria exits left
          Victoria changes into VICTORIA JOBIE 1
          Victoria enters from left to screen right
          Victoria faces left

          VICTORIA (admire_forward)
          OH. MY. GOD! Comfortable and cute!

          }"VICTORIA JOBIE 2" {

          Victoria exits left
          Victoria changes into VICTORIA JOBIE 2
          Victoria enters from left to screen right
          Victoria faces left

          VICTORIA (admire_forward)
          My fav from the closet!

          }"VICTORIA JOBIE 3"{

          Victoria exits left
          Victoria changes into VICTORIA JOBIE 3
          Victoria enters from left to screen right
          Victoria faces left
          VICTORIA (admire_forward)
          So pretty! I love it!

          choice
          "Choose outfit"{
          VICTORIA
          I love it its perfect!
          }
          "Nah I should try again"{
          goto choosing_outfit
          }
          Not sure if this question was answered or not but I did it anyway.
          Your script should look like that at the end

      • #6
        Oh wow is it so helpful! Thank you for posting!

        Comment


        • #7
          There's two more added to the document, which I'll repost:
          ERROR:
          Unexpected CHARACTER: CHARACTER

          CHARACTER is placeholder for a character, not an actor character but a letter character. Meaning something like “a”, or the (actor) character’s name.

          Cause: Usually caused by missing an opening brace {.

          CHARACTER
          What should I do?
          choice
          “Option 1” {
          CHARACTER
          I should do Option 1.
          } “Option 2”
          CHARACTER
          I should do Option 2.
          } “Option 3” {
          CHARACTER
          I should do Option 3.
          }

          Solution: Add the missing brace in. Remember that curly braces should come in pairs: One opening { and one closing }.

          CHARACTER
          What should I do?
          choice
          “Option 1” {
          CHARACTER
          I should do Option 1.
          } “Option 2” {
          CHARACTER
          I should do Option 2.
          } “Option 3” {
          CHARACTER
          I should do Option 3.
          }


          ERROR:
          Unexpected SEQUENCE: SEQUENCE

          SEQUENCE is a placeholder for a sequence, usually a command.

          Cause: Having a character name followed by a command without dialogue in between, or possibly due to a missing opening brace {.

          CHARACTER
          @CHARACTER is idle

          Solution: Add dialogue after the character name, or remove the character name if it is not needed.

          If it’s due a missing opening brace, add it in. Remember that curly braces should come in pairs: One opening { and one closing }.


          I'm glad this has been useful.

          Comment


          • #8
            What about ' Invalid Syntax'?

            Comment


            • WL.
              WL. commented
              Editing a comment
              Haven't seen this before. Could you provide an example or a screenshot?

          • #9
            God, you're amazing at this stuff

            Comment


            • WL.
              WL. commented
              Editing a comment
              Aww, thank you!
              I hope this guide has helped you. Let me know if some parts are unclear and I'll try to make them clearer.
              Last edited by WL.; 08-29-2014, 06:13 PM.

          • #10
            Bumping this up. Free bumps are appreciated as well.

            Comment


            • #11
              Free bump...

              Comment


              • #12
                Geez, you're awesome.

                Comment


                • #13
                  How about this, "Unexpected STRING: X" I always had this and I'm getting frustrated.

                  Comment


                  • WL.
                    WL. commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Could you show me your script? PM or comment here.
                    But the best would be to start your own thread for this.
                    Last edited by WL.; 09-14-2014, 09:32 PM.

                • #14
                  I want a last name and a first name choice!!! How do I get it!!!

                  I have:
                  choice (NAME)
                  "Amelia" continue
                  "Alexa" continue

                  choice (LASTNAME)
                  "Lowry" continue
                  "Jones" continue

                  It says this:
                  Unexpected expressiom :LASTNAME
                  Please help!!!!!

                  Comment


                  • Joycepisode
                    Joycepisode commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I have:
                    choice (NAME)
                    "Amelia" continue
                    "Alexa" continue

                    choice ( LASTNAME )
                    "Lowry" continue
                    "Jones" continue

                    Maybe this will help

                  • WL.
                    WL. commented
                    Editing a comment
                    No, Joycepisode, that's not the problem. You need dialogue before every choice.

                    Also, Lexi, don't post your questions here. I'd say start your own thread, but I saw that you've already started a topic on this. Be patient and wait for a reply there. Jude has already replied on that thread.
                    Last edited by WL.; 09-14-2014, 09:20 PM.

                • #15
                  WHAT DID I DO WRONG AND CAN SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME


                  INT. BLACK - NIGHT
                  NARRATOR
                  Episode 1: The opposite of beauty and the beast
                  As you rub your eyes you hear a loud alarm clock VERY!! loud alarm clock.

                  INT. ANGIE BED-DAY IT SAYS MISSING ANGIE BED RED DAY


                  HANNAH (stand_up)
                  Uh great i have to go to work....

                  label 1_1_dressinggame

                  HANNAH (talking)
                  What am i in the mood for?

                  HANNAH (curious)
                  I want to wear something...

                  choice (OUTFIT)
                  "cute" {

                  @HANNAH exits left
                  @HANNAH change into cute IT SAYS MISSING OUTFIT:CUTE
                  @HANNAH enters from left to screen left

                  if(TRIED_CUTE){

                  HANNAH (talk_smile)
                  I love it!! this look is so in right now

                  }else{

                  HANNAH (talk_shrug)
                  Hmm i don't know

                  gain TRIED_CUTE
                  }

                  } "preppy"{

                  @HANNAH exits left
                  @HANNAH change into preppy IT SAYS MISSING OUTFIT:PREPPY
                  @HANNAH enters from left to screen left

                  if(TRIED_PREPPY){

                  HANNAH (happy)
                  Oh i love this skirt!!!!

                  }else{

                  HANNAH (talk_shrug)
                  Hmm i don't know

                  gain TRIED_PREPPY
                  }

                  }"casual"{

                  @HANNAH exits left
                  @HANNAH change into casual IT SAYS MISSING OUTFIT:CASUAL
                  @HANNAH enters from left to screen left

                  if(TRIED_CASUAL){

                  HANNAH (talk_smile)
                  Wow this is so comfy

                  }else{

                  HANNAH (talk_shrug)
                  Hmm i don't know

                  gain TRIED_CASUAL
                  }
                  }


                  HANNAH (neutral)
                  So am i happy with this outfit

                  choice
                  "No." {

                  HANNAH (doubtful)
                  I need to try those other looks again

                  redo 1_1_dressinggame

                  } "Yes." {

                  HANNAH (giddy)
                  Its perfect!! i made the right choice

                  }

                  HANNAH (talkneutral_walk)
                  Uh i better go to work!!

                  INT. GUARD DESK-DAY IT SAYS MISSING PLACE:INT. GUARD DESK-DAY

                  HANNAH (walk)
                  Hmm i wonder wear the security guard went? ANY WAY!!!

                  INT. BASIC OFFICE-DAY IT SAYS MISSING PLACE: INT.BASIC OFFICE-DAY

                  HANNAH (walk_rear)
                  Hi, Umm so what mission do you have for me today

                  BOSS (talk)
                  Its good to see your so enthusiastic, Your first assignment is at a place called Kingston Public


                  BOSS (talk_excited)
                  You have to go under cover the family that you have to keep an eye on is the smith family.

                  BOSS (talk)
                  So all you have to do is basically go to school there every day

                  HANNAH (talk_nervous)
                  Uh well umm-isn't it going to be a bit hard?

                  BOSS (talk)
                  Don't worry i will give you a file that has information

                  HANNAH (receive_item)
                  Thanks...

                  BOSS (talk)
                  You have to be convincing enough OK so wear whatever school girls wear


                  HANNAH (talk)
                  Uh ok.. .thanks

                  INT. ACADEMIC HALL-DAY IT SAYS MISSING INT.ACADEMIC HALL-DAY

                  HANNAH (walk)
                  (This is ..nice i guess)

                  HANNAH (search)
                  (Oh thats amy smith )

                  HANNAH (walk)
                  Umm hi do you know were room 23 is

                  AMY (nod)
                  I'm in that class as well !! Hey are you knew here ?

                  HANNAH (laugh_chuckle)
                  Yeah i am... My name is Hannah

                  AMY (talk_greet)
                  Cool my name is Amy

                  HANNAH (talk_headache )
                  Uh class is almost starting!! at least i know have someone i know

                  AMY (talk_smile)
                  Heres a tip watch out on Lydia uh shes the most popular girl in school but shes very mean.

                  HANNAH (nod)
                  I will thanks well theres the bell

                  INT. CLASSROOM DESK-DAY

                  @HANNAH sits right and AMY sits left IT SAYS NO ACTION MATCHES THIS
                  @HANNAH faces left and AMY faces right

                  AMY (point)
                  Look over there is little Miss Perfect!!

                  INT. CLASSROOM LA-DESK DAY

                  @MISS STENING sits right and NICK sits left IT SAYS NO ACTION MATCHES THIS
                  @MISS STENING faces left and NICK faces right

                  INT. CLASSROOM DESK-DAY IT SAYS MISSING THIS

                  HANNAH (blush)
                  Who's that with her he seems cute!!

                  AMY (laugh_chuckle)
                  Thats my brother!!!

                  HANNAH (shocked)
                  (Oh great i have a crush on the boy im spying on)

                  Comment


                  • WL.
                    WL. commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Please start your own thread for this.
                    Unless you have a specific error you want me to add to the list, and have script as an example for the error, do not post here.

                    Thanks!

                    ETA: The problems you're facing can be solved by reading the first post of this thread, actually. Have you read it? The solutions to the errors you're encountering are mentioned there...
                    Last edited by WL.; 09-17-2014, 12:27 AM.
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