Formatting Question

So now you have an outline. Where do you go from here? Discuss getting past FADE IN:.
auggybendoggy
Writer
Posts: 14
Joined: Apr 17, 2009 4:15 pm

Formatting Question

Postby auggybendoggy » Feb 15, 2010 7:51 am

I hope I'm posting in the correct forum. I'm brand new to screenwriting and have a formatting question. My opening scene is a series of sketches which are narrated; using V.O. Currently I'm using a header which looks like:

SKETCH - COMETS JOURNEY - SPACE

The rings of saturn strectch accross the heavens as the COMET breaks past us, screaming as it travels through deep space.

(V.O.)
Earth's last few moments, determined by a rock, having no
intentions, no mission...but one. Destroy Earth.

I realize it's usually (int or ext) followed by (location) followed by (day/night). Thus I don't believe I'm even writing it incorrectly and I can't seem to find any tutorials which explain how this would be done. My goal is to have a storybook type of beginning. Disney's Beauty and the Beast would be close to what I'm trying to achieve.

I'm hoping someone might help me.

Auggybendoggy

User avatar
Chris Huntley
Site Admin
Posts: 722
Joined: Jan 25, 2008 5:19 pm
Location: Glendale, CA USA
Contact:

Re: Formatting Question

Postby Chris Huntley » Feb 18, 2010 12:18 pm

My initial thought is that using "SKETCH" in the scene heading does not mean anything in particular. Is it important to the story that it is shown as a sketch? If it isn't, it is best NOT to describe it - - leave it up to the filmmakers to figure out how they want to realize your imagery.

The most important thing is clarity. If you want to do a fairy tale book, you need to describe it as a book before you describe its contents:

INT. STORYBOOK ROOM

The book, "XXX" sits atop a table. The book opens by itself and we see drawings on the pages.

PAGE ONE

The rings of Saturn stretch across the heavens as a COMET speeds toward us .

                                     NARRATOR (V.O)
               Earth's last few moments, determined by a rock, having no
               intentions, no mission...but one. Destroy Earth.

----
It's not nearly as exciting as playing it like it is real time:

EXT. SPACE

The rings of Saturn stretch across the heavens as a COMET breaks past us, screaming as it travels through deep space.

-----

If it is a fairy tale feel, then make sure you describe the feel and less the particular method of creating the illustrations.
Chris Huntley
Write Brothers Inc.
http://dramatica.com/
http://screenplay.com/

slidefoot100

Re: Formatting Question

Postby slidefoot100 » Feb 23, 2010 12:30 pm

I'm having a little problem with this as well.
But thanks Chris for your post. I was able to get idea with your post and fix my problem about formatting as well. =)

auggybendoggy
Writer
Posts: 14
Joined: Apr 17, 2009 4:15 pm

Re: Formatting Question

Postby auggybendoggy » May 06, 2011 7:12 am

Chris, I had forgotten I had posted this question here. Having a plethora of other questions, I ended up back here browsing the forum. I'm adding it to my favorites as not to forget.

Thank you for your reply. It's so helpful to get feedback, which not only answers our questions, but allows us to see the mistakes or ignorance (if those are the proper words) of how we approach writing our scenes. I'm only sorry it took me this long to get back here.

So thank you,

Auggy

auggybendoggy
Writer
Posts: 14
Joined: Apr 17, 2009 4:15 pm

Re: Formatting Question

Postby auggybendoggy » Aug 11, 2011 8:00 am

Chris,
I have another question:

In one scene I have a young boy in school. The teacher is welcoming all the students to the class. Then I cut to the family walking home from school. As they're walking home, you can still hear the teacher (V.O.) addressing the class (he's explaining why they're in school) .

Do I use CUT TO: for this or is that to harsh? I'm referring particularly to going from the class room scene to the family walking home. Or perhaps CUT TO: is just wrong.

Any advice would be appreciated.

User avatar
Chris Huntley
Site Admin
Posts: 722
Joined: Jan 25, 2008 5:19 pm
Location: Glendale, CA USA
Contact:

Re: Formatting Question

Postby Chris Huntley » Aug 11, 2011 8:30 am

If you change the scene heading, that implies a visual transition. You do not need to say CUT TO:

For example:

Code: Select all

INT. CLASSROOM - DAY

The kids mill around and take their seats as their teacher, MISS MASTERS, walks into the classroom.

                     MISS MASTERS
          Good morning, class.  I hope you all
          had an exciting summer.  For your first
          homework assignment...

EXT. STREET - DAY

BOBBY and his friends walk down the center of the street on their way home from school.

                    MISS MASTERS (V.O)     
          ...I want you each to write a report
          about what you did this summer.

Bobby kicks a rock down the road, then turns to his pal CHUCK.

                    BOBBY     
         Are you going to write about
         what we really did this summer?


I think something like that lets the reader know you've jumped locations (and time), but are carrying over the teacher's earlier instructions. This then leads to the current dialogue between Bobby and Chuck. An alternative is that the teacher's voice just fades out, generally indicated by an ellipse (...).
Chris Huntley
Write Brothers Inc.
http://dramatica.com/
http://screenplay.com/

auggybendoggy
Writer
Posts: 14
Joined: Apr 17, 2009 4:15 pm

Re: Formatting Question

Postby auggybendoggy » Aug 12, 2011 10:19 am

Excellent! Thanks for that Chris.

Kippy
Writer
Posts: 9
Joined: Sep 07, 2011 10:00 am
Location: California

Re: Formatting Question

Postby Kippy » Sep 08, 2011 7:36 am

Keep in mind, with reagard to location, there really is only two accepted variants; "EXT" (exterior) or "INT" (interior). I've never seen "SKETCH" work for a screenplay. Especially for a Spec Script. Outer Space is an "EXT" location. Inside a Space Craft would be "INT" (and so on).

Check out the "ALIENS 2" script written by James Cameron. He starts with an outer space scene. Also, with the V.O., who is talking? A man, a woman, an alien? Describe the voice. Or if it's a character's voice, use something like JOHN SMITH (V.O.). The "AVATAR" script uses Jake Sully (main character) as the V.O.. Same for "TWILIGHT", the main charcater Bella is narrating. Check it out...

auggybendoggy
Writer
Posts: 14
Joined: Apr 17, 2009 4:15 pm

Re: Formatting Question

Postby auggybendoggy » Sep 27, 2011 1:30 pm

So Kippy,
How would you write in a fairytale book scene? Or in my case how would you write out a series of child sketches?

Gene

Kippy
Writer
Posts: 9
Joined: Sep 07, 2011 10:00 am
Location: California

Re: Formatting Question

Postby Kippy » Oct 06, 2011 7:20 am

I see what you're saying. To be honest, I'm not sure. I don't write animated films. But, check out Internet Movie Script Database (IMSDB). Just do a Goggle search. Once there, you can view several scripts related to your genre. They're all free to download and view. A wealth of information. Start researching your question and you'll stumble upon some good examples.

In my humble opinion, the "Sketch" would be an artistic impression the art / production department would decide on. It might NOT be the writer's call.

Maybe this -

INT - BEDROOM - DAY

A child draws a picture. A Comet barreling through the heavens. Charcol on white canvas. Motionless, lifeless. Until--

The sketch comes to life, as if moving. Magicall, unexpected. It compells us closer. We enter a mysterious and flowing world of canvas and charcol. Then, a man's voice. Deep, ancient. Almost baratone. He speaks, captivating us to listen--

VOICE (VO)
Your dialog...

auggybendoggy
Writer
Posts: 14
Joined: Apr 17, 2009 4:15 pm

Re: Formatting Question

Postby auggybendoggy » Oct 08, 2011 10:32 am

Kip,

I'll give it a go and thanks for the feedback. I'll get back in a few days.

auggybendoggy
Writer
Posts: 14
Joined: Apr 17, 2009 4:15 pm

Re: Formatting Question

Postby auggybendoggy » Oct 26, 2011 10:22 am

Here's my problem. This small narrative (it's supposed to be small) at the beginning of my script is 3 pages and I confident it's WAY too long. As the narrator tells the story, each dialogue is illustrated by a different sketch. So lets say there's 20 points of dialogue, then there's 20 sketches.

So I'm wondering it there is some other technique, like a montage or some other way to take the 3 pages and reduce to 1. My only other thought is to simplify the dialogue and remove some lines and some sketches.

Aug

User avatar
Chris Huntley
Site Admin
Posts: 722
Joined: Jan 25, 2008 5:19 pm
Location: Glendale, CA USA
Contact:

Re: Formatting Question

Postby Chris Huntley » Oct 30, 2011 9:19 am

What is your concern here? Is this a spec script? If you want to know how long it would run, read the dialog aloud and record it. That will give you a sense of the real screen time, which is what is really important when you consider page count (one page equals one minute of screen time). Very often animation scripts are done as images and text, or put together as animatics.

If this is a spec script, I suggest checking out sample script formats:
http://www.jeffreyscott.tv/Scripts.htm

Here is one that is heavy on scene description:
http://www.awn.com/mag/issue4.04/4.04pages/williamsonscripta.php3

Here's a Google search for animation script examples:
http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=animation+script+format+example&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

Cheers,
Chris Huntley
Write Brothers Inc.
http://dramatica.com/
http://screenplay.com/

auggybendoggy
Writer
Posts: 14
Joined: Apr 17, 2009 4:15 pm

Re: Formatting Question

Postby auggybendoggy » Nov 22, 2011 8:38 am

Chris, it is a spec. I thought the whole page read was to be approximately 1 min. I assume that's what you mean. If not then perhaps I need to re-read my screewriting books :)

Also thanks for the links. I've already begun reviewing them.

Aug

Thomas
Published Writer
Posts: 49
Joined: Dec 19, 2009 5:56 pm

Re: Formatting Question

Postby Thomas » Mar 07, 2014 1:13 pm

Chris Huntley wrote:What is your concern here? Is this a spec script? If you want to know how long it would run, read the dialog aloud and record it. That will give you a sense of the real screen time, which is what is really important when you consider page count (one page equals one minute of screen time). Very often animation scripts are done as images and text, or put together as animatics.

If this is a spec script, I suggest checking out sample script formats:
http://www.jeffreyscott.tv/Scripts.htm


If yew are gonna read Jeffrey Scott's work, stay well away from any and all Superfriends scripts. *Face Palm* :)
The Honorable Thomas A. McKean, HOKC
http://www.thomasamckean.com
Partner in Policymaking
Author, Soon Will Come the Light: A View From Inside the Autism Puzzle
Author, Light on the Horizon: A Deeper View from Inside the Autism Puzzle


Return to “The Writing Process”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest