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orangepink
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:00 am    Post subject: Scene Headings Reply with quote #41914

Amateur here.

1/ My question is how do I write scene headings? For example, one action scene involves the hero running from one room to the hallway to the basement to the laundry room back to hallway? This was how I wrote it:

INT. HIGH SCHOOL - ROOM/HALLWAY/BASEMENT/ROOM - MORNING

ROOM

Hero did something.

HALLWAY

Hero runs, did something.

BASEMENT

Hero broke the glass cabinet, did something, runs back to room

Is that correct?

2/ Could you recommend a book about formats?
3/ Or recommend one who checks it for me?

Thank you!


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James Patrick Joyce
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote #41916

For format, I'd recommend Trottier's Screenwriter's Bible


For the headings, I'd mainly just change the first one, to simplify it:



INT. HIGH SCHOOL - MORNING

WOODSHOP

Hero sharpens a bunch of stakes.

Runs out the door to the

HALLWAY

Hero runs, placing stakes and crosses in various lockers.

Goes down stairs to the

BASEMENT

Hero stakes a couple vamps, sleeping during daytime.

Runs back up stairs.

WOODSHOP

Hero runs in and finishes the lamp project that's overdue.



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Bryan Reeves
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:18 pm    Post subject: Re: Scene Headings Reply with quote #41921

The Hollywood Standard, 2nd edition
http://www.amazon.com/The-Hollywood-Standard-Complete-Authoritative/dp/1932907637

orangepink wrote:
1/ My question is how do I write scene headings? For example, one action scene involves the hero running from one room to the hallway to the basement to the laundry room back to hallway? This was how I wrote it:

INT. HIGH SCHOOL - ROOM/HALLWAY/BASEMENT/ROOM - MORNING

ROOM


INT. HIGH SCHOOL CLASSROOM - MORNING

If the other rooms are necessary to the story, you list them as JP Joyce wrote. Each change in camera location requires a heading.

If you want to indicate the hero ran through several rooms, there's probably a sequence heading found in Riley or Trotter's books. Embarrassed to have forgotten how that goes. Embarassed



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Mike Rinaldi
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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 12:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote #41926

James Patrick Joyce wrote:

INT. HIGH SCHOOL - MORNING

WOODSHOP

Hero sharpens a bunch of stakes.

Runs out the door to the

HALLWAY

Hero runs, placing stakes and crosses in various lockers.

Goes down stairs to the

BASEMENT

Hero stakes a couple vamps, sleeping during daytime.

Runs back up stairs.

WOODSHOP

Hero runs in and finishes the lamp project that's overdue.
I agree with the following exception:

INT. HIGH SCHOOL - DAY
Blah, blah, this is your scene description. From the windows, morning sunlight casts long beams through dancing dust particles of

WOODSHOP
where Hero does something interesting.

Don't put "morning" in your scene heading. Put it in your description.


While I'm sure Dave's book won't lead you astray, the accepted industry standard for screenplay format is Chris Riley's book. The 2nd edition is updated with things like how to format text messages on a character's phone and lots of neat stuff. Buy the book because you'll never stop using it.

http://www.amazon.com/Hollywood-Standard-Complete-Authoritative-Script/dp/1932907637/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1367386885&sr=1-1&keywords=the+hollywood+standard



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James Patrick Joyce
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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote #41929

Mike Rinaldi wrote:

Don't put "morning" in your scene heading. Put it in your description.


Whoops. Correct. My bad.


Mike Rinaldi wrote:

While I'm sure Dave's book won't lead you astray, the accepted industry standard for screenplay format


Yeah, but... you know... standard schmandered. As long as you're pretty much in the general formatty goodness, you're fine.

Cell phone text, for example... it's new. Do it your way, just make sure it's clear to the reader.



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orangepink
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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 2:39 pm    Post subject: More questions Reply with quote #41932

I bought the book from Amazon yesterday. Waiting for delivery. Meanwhile, what if:

1/ I have two consecutive scenes (AM, PM) that takes place in one day? How do I indicate that in the heading?

2/ The opening scene is like End of Watch, where in there's a voice over and the camera follows the police car driving around the city, through different streets and neighborhoods. How do I write the heading for that?


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cynthiamc
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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote #41933

As it was explained to me by a lighting tech: If you can see the sun and what you're doing, it's DAY. If you can't, it's NIGHT. Don't ask me to light LATER or any cutesy writer-type stuff. Just DAY or NIGHT. That's it. I don't have time for all that other *#&@


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quade
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Joined: 12 Jun 2009
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Location: South of the 605

PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 5:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote #41934

In addition to the above, think about how the audience watching the film is going to know AM from PM. Think about it for a minute, if you looked at a photograph and didn't know the area well enough to know which direction shadows were being cast, would you really know the difference between a photo taken at 9 AM versus 3 PM? Or even DAWN versus SUNSET for that matter?

If you want to show time passing from one scene to the next at a location, a change in lighting is a good way to do it; DAY versus NIGHT or SUNSET. However, two scenes back to back with the only clue being sunlight coming from one side or the other of the meridian probably isn't as powerful.


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cynthiamc
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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote #41935

Also, bear in mind your budget.

I love kids and animals. I know if I use them, my budget has probably doubled. (Tutors, wranglers, etc.). One of my scripts has a lion in it. I love that lion. He adds a lot to the story. In my first version he had a much bigger role than he does now. In this version he appears in one scene and is only heard in the last scene. And that sound alone actually has more power than the elaborate scene I wrote the first time. Sometimes it works to your advantage to think that way.

Chase scenes are expensive.

Every time you move location, it's expensive.

Know how much it's going to cost to shoot what you write. Not saying don't write it if that's the burning story you need to tell, just be aware of how much it'll cost and the various headaches involved (permits, etc.) to do it.

My first draft I let the artist have free rein (though only to a point because I do have a good business head and it pipes up often). My second draft I think of things like "Do I really need to move location? If I think I do, why? Is there anything else I can do with this location?"

It's not as much fun initially as just writing whatever but if you can think like a director, think like a producer, think like a lighting tech, or a set decorator, it'll go a long way toward removing a lot of the obstacles that someone reading your script can come up with. And for me it's like working a puzzle from various angles. It's fun in its own way and the chances of payoff are better.


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James Patrick Joyce
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Joined: 24 Apr 2013
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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote #41936

cynthiamc wrote:
As it was explained to me by a lighting tech: If you can see the sun and what you're doing, it's DAY. If you can't, it's NIGHT. Don't ask me to light LATER or any cutesy writer-type stuff. Just DAY or NIGHT. That's it. I don't have time for all that other *#&@


Or DAWN/DUSK.

As this is separate from clearly DAY and clearly NIGHT.

As mentioned, the rule is: if it's obvious to the audience, you can use it. So day, night, and dusk/dawn (which look the same).



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cynthiamc
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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 5:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote #41937

True enough about DAWN/DUSK, but one thing to keep in mind (my lighting tech friend again) is lighting people hate that because they have a very small window to shoot. You usually only have a matter of minutes and if you miss it, you have to wait a day (at union pay) to do it again. And if you try to edit two sunset scenes to get one good one, it's very difficult. Just something to keep in mind.


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orangepink
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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote #41940

But what about chase scenes? How do I write the scene heading for that?


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James Patrick Joyce
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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 11:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote #41941

orangepink wrote:
But what about chase scenes? How do I write the scene heading for that?



If you're talking about a chase scene where they run through a succession of rooms, then write it like I did, above.


Here's an example of what I mean. Please keep in mind that it's just a spur of the moment example. Only intention is to get my point across.


SAMPLE CHASE wrote:

INT. PRINCIPAL'S OFFICE - NIGHT

PRINCIPAL HARCOURT
Bad boys...

Principal Harcourt pumps the shotgun.

BOOM

Billy tumbles through the door into the


MAIN OFFICE

Billy fires back, with his Glock. Running, ducking, firing.

CLICK. Empty.

Harcourt strides out. Pump.

BOOM

PRINCIPAL HARCOURT
Bad boys, Billy...

Billy half scrambles half falls into the

HALLWAY

The Glock skitters across the floor, echoing in the dim,
empty halls.

Billy keeps running. Rounds a corner.

PRINCIPAL HARCOURT (OS)
(shouting)
Bad boys, Billy, have to pay.

Billy ducks into the

BOY'S ROOM

gasping, heaving, shaking -- drops against the wall.



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Bryan Reeves
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PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2013 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote #41948

In addition to The Hollywood Standard and The Screenwriter's Bible read a few scripts.

Uh, read a lot of scripts.



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orangepink
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PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2013 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote #41953

Thanks, everyone! Very Happy Very Happy

What about characters? For example, in Halle Berry's movie, The Call, the bad guy was just this mysterious guy in the first half. How do I refer to him?

INT. MICHELLE'S ROOM
TALL, DARK-HAIRED MAN enters.
(5 scenes later)

EXT. MICHELLE'S BACKYARD
Same tall, dark-haired man follows her.

Is this correct? I greatly appreciate all your help. I don't know any writers in my area.


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