Scene Heading are aligned flush left is about
1.5" from the edge of the paper. The Scene Heading is written in ALL CAPS.
Use a period after the INT. or EXT., a hyphen between the other elements of the
The Scene Heading, sometimes called Slugline,
tells the reader of the script where the scene takes place,
An Extension is a technical note placed directly to
the right of the Character name that denotes HOW the character's voice will be
heard by the audience. An Off-Screen voice can be heard from a character out of
the camera range, or from another room altogether.
Frankie pulls all the covers off of Julie. She sits
up in bed, pulls on a longT-shirt, then swings her legs onto the floor and
shuffles off to the bathroom.
long you gonna be? I've got a meeting
and I need to shower.
We must begin with this remark: Nowadays, in Spec
Scripts, transitions are frowned upon, a waste of a couple of lines you could
better use for brilliant dialogue, and are only used when absolutely necessary.
When you DO use a Transition, the left margin is at 6.5" and a right
margin of 1.0". Transitions are formatted in all caps and almost always
follow an Action and precede Scene Headings.
SFX: The BLAST of a train whistle SPFX
= special effects
SPFX announces that a special effect is necessary
(one that might not require the use of CGI).
SPFX: A beam of light illuminates Frankie's face.
His features slowly melt likea wax figure. M.O.S.
= without sound
The story goes that a German-born director (perhaps
Josef von Sternberg, who discovered Marlene Dietrich) wanted to shoot a scene
without sound and told the crew to shoot "mit out sound," a phrase
which the crew found humorous and thus proliferated it. It is most commonly
used to show impending impact of some kind.
M.O.S. Horses stampeding down Main Street. POV
= point of view
The camera 'sees' the action from a specific
JULIE'S POV - Frankie sits on the bed tying his
A MONTAGE is a cinematic device used to show a
series of scenes, all related and building to some conclusion.
The MONTAGE is formatted as a single shot, with the
subsequent scenes action elements of the complete sequence.
French word, it was created by Russian director Sergei Eisenstein as to elicit emotions on several levels.
Most often it
is used as a passage of time device. Think of a baby being born, then rolling
over, then taking its first steps, and finally running through the sprinklers.
A SERIES OF SHOTS
A SERIES OF SHOTS is similar to a Montage, but it
usually takes place in one location and concerns the same action.
Think of the movie Earthquake...
SERIES OF SHOTS A) Store windows start to
rattle and shake. B) Hanging signs swing back and forth. C) Bricks
and shards of glass begin to fall onto the sidewalks. D) People run for
cover. A SERIES OF SHOTS is formatted as a SHOT.
Just like a Montage, the shot series are action
paragraphs and may also be numbered 1) 2) 3).
Occasionally in a script, you might want to cut back
and forth between two or more scenes. These scenes are occurring at the same
time. Instead of repeating the Scene Heading for each scene over and over, an
INTERCUT is used. This gives the reader the sense that the scene is moving
rapidly back and forth between locations. There is a great sequence of
intercuts in The Deer Hunter of shots of hunters out in the woods with a
wedding going on simultaneously, at a different location. Here's another
INT. SHERRI'S APARTMENT - NIGHT Sherri starts
disrobing in front of her open bedroom window. INT. LENNY'S APARTMENT -
NIGHT Lenny gets up to cross to the fridge to get a beer. He looks out his
window andcatches a glimpse of Sherri across the courtyard. He freezes,
watching her. INTERCUT BETWEEN LENNY AND SHERRI Sherri sits on the
bed and unbuttons her double-breasted suit jacket. Lenny moves closer to
the window for a better vantage point.
The TITLE PAGE has specific information on it. Type
it in the same font as your script, Courier 12. It should not be on special
paper, no graphics - it should just contain only the following information:
Centered on the page, vertically and horizontally -
The title of your script in bold type if possible
Two lines below that, centered on the line - Written
by (author of novel or short story)…………………
Two lines below that, centered on the line - Name of
Author (and co-writer, if any)
In the lower right hand corner your contact
information (include agent or email address)
In the lower left-hand corner you can put
Registered, WGA or a copyright notification.
The Bad, The Thin Written