SCENE HEADINGS

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.

WHEN?

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

SCENE DIRECTION

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:

o.s (off-screen)

v.o (voice over)

POV (point of view)

Are generally accepted

CAMERA ANGLES

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

PARAGRAPHING

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)

DISSOLVE TO

FADE TO BLACK

FREEZE FRAME

MIX TO

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

CHARACTER CUES

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

ACTOR DIRECTION

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

E.G.                               MIKE

(Sarcastic)

I do not talk to strange women…

DIALOGUE

After the business comes the dialogue. It runs immediately below the name of the character speaking. All dialogue is single spaced. See sample

SOUND

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

TITLES

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

NOW, I PROMISED YOU A FREE SOFTWEAR THAT WILL AUTOMATICALLY FORMAT YOUR SCRIPT AND ALSO MAKE WRITING AN EXCITING EXPERINCE. HERE IT IS –

You will need a laptop or a P.C. if you do not have internet, head to the nearest café with you empty CD or FLASH DRIVE.

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

Cheers

All the best

From SMAT media…e make sense

 

 

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adamondrock

I love life, love God and am a collector of rare items like the ash of a phoenix, egg of a unicorn, tears of an Angel and I drink pap with chopsticks.
Creativity found me, though I wasn't lost and am still paying the price of a chosen one.
It has always been the nature of man to confuse genius with insanity.

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