Replete With Jargonosity


Simply put: I hate jargon. It’s a cheap language trick feeding on lazy minds that’s slowly destroying descriptive speech as well as the written language. It’s both deceptive—giving the user a faux brilliance that might actually be found lacking if their comments were put into simple terms—and safe, since no one wants to appear out of the cool loop by stopping the jargon-spouter and asking them exactly what they mean (and isn’t it great when you actually call them on it and they struggle for answer?).

And before you mistake my meaning, I understand the importance of industry terms—screenplay direction, set lingo, etc.—as a method of saving communication time in a short attention-spanned world, and as a means of demonstrating how well you understand your area of expertise.

The jargon I hate is of the screenwriting variety in a non-professional setting when it comes to peer review. Not only for my work. In general. But that wasn’t always the case. When I first got into screenwriting I was, quite naturally, greener than a Granny Smith and eager to soak up as much knowledge on the subject of crafting the perfect script as possible, which included industry speak. I mean, who doesn’t want to learn the buzzwords of their aspiring trade and toss them into casual conversations with industry professionals to prove to that they’re with it and they dig the scene, man?

Then I joined several screenwriting groups that met online and at a physical location and attended screenplay review seminars and began to notice how some people hid behind parroted catchphrases in order to avoid the conflict of offering an honest opinion.

I don’t expect my hatred of jargon to change the way things work—hell, I even jargonate (the act of using jargon in verbal conversation) myself, more often than I’m comfortable with—I’m simply saddened by the slow death of Plain English as a method of conveying clear meaning without unnecessary complexity. Particularly when used to offer constructive criticism.

Sally forth and be writeful.

— Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys