Scene headings, also known as ‘slug lines’, provide the basic where-and-when information for the scene that follows. Each new scene has its own slug line and always written in CAPITALS. The information is set out in very specific order; e.g.
INT. CHURCH. REGISTRY ROOM – NIGHT
EXT. BANK BUILDING – DAY
This is the where/when
From the above example the first stated information is ‘where’: INT. (interior- in a room)
EXT. (exterior- In the street)
If the scene takes place inside a car or a train, this is still an INT. SCENE, even though the car or train is outdoor-
INT. CAR – EVENING
INT. MOVING CAR. LAGOS STREET – DAY
You may also find INT/EXT. this is were the CAMERA’S POV (point of view) is placed inside filming or watching an event/actor outside (e.g. a scene happening out in the street being seen by someone inside the CAR)
EXT/INT. ADE’S CAR. STREET – DAY
The same thing applies for a scene for someone in the house viewing out.
Usually DAY or NIGHT is sufficient. You can also use DAWN, MORNING, AFTERNOON, LATE AFTERNOON, DUSK, LATER, SAME TIME OR A FEW MOMENTS LATER. There are also FOLLOWING OR CONTINIOUS, if the scene or (particularly) conversation continues unhindered from a previous scene but shifts location
RULES: a new scene occurs whenever there is a change of either location or time
Always double space between the headings and the text and between scenes
Scenes are not numbered in initial scripts in film format – they get numbered in later production drafts
Called the ‘business’ this is the text which contains all the description (i.e. non-dialogue) of character’s actions and natural events relevant to your STORY. Written in lower case, clear, concise and uncluttered, not justified, written in the present tense e.g.
Mr. Godwin closes the door after them. He then slowly turns his head towards his crying wife
Character names are in lower case, except when they first enter your SCRIPT. Avoid technical directions. You are not directing the film. However, directions like:
v.o (voice over)
POV (point of view)
Are generally accepted
LEAVE THEM OUT!!! A sure sign of an amateur is an abundance of camera angles (pans, dollies, zooms, close ups, LS, TCU, MS etc)
Avoid using them, instead of ‘LS’ of a ‘running man’ try “in the distance we see…”. Use descriptive words to paint the picture of the scene as vividly as you can
Your STORY should focus on the storyline and character, let the director worry about the production
Long unbroken paragraphs of business are ugly to look at and difficult to read. Break them up into actions or ideas. Never have a paragraph longer than four or five lines.
ENTRANCE AND EXITS
How do you move from one scene to another? The convention is you CUT TO (written in the bottom right hand corner at the end of your scene). Refer to the sample script. But the new convention is to leave them out – A new scene heading naturally means the last scene has ended
Other terms are:
FADE IN (always at the start of a script)
FADE OUT (at the end)
FADE TO BLACK
MATCH CUT TO
Remember: if you FADE OUT or FADE TO BLACK on one scene, you MUST always FADE IN on the next – if you can not justify them, stick to CUT TO or just leave them out, it wont kill your STORY
The name of the character speaking that piece of dialogue, in CAPITALS, is situated approximately one and a half inch in from the edge of the dialogue: don’t worry, the FREE software will snap it in place
This is where you, as the writer, issue direct instruction to the actor on how to deliver the dialogue you’ve written. Note; this is different from SCENE DIRECTION
I do not talk to strange women…
After the business comes the dialogue. It runs immediately below the name of the character speaking. All dialogue is single spaced. See sample
Any sound that are crucial to your SCRIPT (and not made by or caused directly by the actor) MUST be included in the business in CAPITAL, e.g.
A police siren SHRIEKS through the dark street
A KNOCK splits the silence
Choosing the right titles for your SCRIPT is essential: good ones hook the audience, bad ones put them off. It has to grab their attention, be memorable
BACKGROUND AND SETTING
You need to know completely the world your STORY is set in to make it believable for your audience. It doesn’t have to actually exit but they (audience) must believe that it could
WOW!! After that entire lecture, DO YOU FEEL YOU ARE READY to turn your STORY IDEA INTO A SCRIPT?
I BELIVE YOU CAN: writers train by writing, so WRITE – OR BE WRITTEN OFF!!
I am a trained DIRECTOR but have made hundreds of thousands writing. I started HOW? BY OVERCOMING ONE PAGE!
REMEMBER THIS: don’t GET it RIGHT – GET IT WTITTEN
DON’T WORRY ABOUT HOW IT LOOKS NOW! That’s why we invented‘re-writes’. Your STORY will go through several drafts before the final one
You can always do a review and consistently go back and read this manual to do a self appraisal.
YOU CAN NOW DO IT!! IT’S ABOUT FOCUS
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Log onto www.celtx.com from the site you will be able to download absolutely FREE a copy of celtx SCREENWRITING software which you can update FREE OF CHARGE
WELCOME TO THE EXCITING WORLD OF SCREENWRITTING
All the best
From SMAT media…e make sense