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format Formatting for heading

Is this proper formatting?

INT. O'CONNER HOUSE - KITCHEN/LIVING ROOM - DAY

I'm a little confused about the hyphens and spaces when specifying a room within a house. I'm having a hard time finding an example of this in online screenplays.
 

mlesemann

Staff Member
Moderator
If the room is BOTH the kitchen and the living room, or if the two basically run into each other so that it's one continuous space, then yes.

Otherwise specify exactly which room the action takes place. When the action changes to a different room, you need a new slug line indicating that.
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
If you are familiar with real estate, this might signify what is called open concept.
 
I was picturing the house with an open kitchen/living room. But maybe it's preferable to just say INT. HOUSE and leave the options open for the type of layout the house has?
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
Look up some screenplays (teleplays) of things like Friends, Seinfeld. They were open concept and the action took place walking to and fro.
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
Here's some more:
Breakfast at Tiffany's
It's Complicated
Addicted To Love
Something's Gotta Give
 
Have any of you ever had to indicate that a character is looking through a peephole? I just put PEEPHOLE POV., and then described whats happening on the other side of the door. Is there a better way?
 
Your overall MASTER SCENE LOCATION HEADING is fine but if you keep moving throughout the house? The reading will flow much better if you use SECONDARY SCENE LOCATION HEADINGS to depict that...

For instance... Let's say you move the action into the hallway... Something like this:

INT. O'CONNER HOUSE - KITCHEN/LIVING ROOM - DAY

The O'conner family sits in front of a big screen TV. Mom crosses to the

HALLWAY

opens the linen closet but it's empty.

--In the above example, HALLWAY is the secondary scene location heading. Notice how instead of writing it in the action line above, we use it as an actual location heading. Doing it this way is how you keep the READ flowing from one location to another within a master location.

Same goes for the peephole...

Mom hears the doorbell ring -- runs to the

FOYER

to open the front door but peeks through the

PEEPHOLE

instead -- observes someone standing there in a clown costume.

This is just quick and dirty off the top of my head but hopefully, you get the gist... If this is a short you're making on your own? You can obviously write it any way you want. However, if you were writing this as a spec script? It's usually better to write it in a similar way as I've outlined above instead of using actual direction. In other words? Direct our EYES to see what you want us to see but don't use actual direction to do it.
 
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How would you handle a new room, and not just a hallway? INT. OCONNER HOUSE-BASEMENT?

Handle it the same way... Just write some action leading the character into whatever room you want and stick the name of the location all by itself on a separate line.

OR

If you do not want to write the action leading the character into another room, just use the secondary scene location heading on a line all by itself WITHOUT including INT./EXT., the MASTER SCENE LOCATION HEADING, and NIGHT or DAY.

Like this:

Mom hears the doorbell ring -- runs to the

FOYER

to open the front door but peeks through the

PEEPHOLE

instead -- observes someone standing there in a clown costume.

BASEMENT

A window breaks and someone sticks their leg through.

Make sense?
 

mlesemann

Staff Member
Moderator
Your overall MASTER SCENE LOCATION HEADING is fine but if you keep moving throughout the house? The reading will flow much better if you use SECONDARY SCENE LOCATION HEADINGS to depict that...
That looks really nice, but I've had multiple people tell me it doesn't work well when you try to load the script into production software.

So it depends, again, on the purpose of the script.
 
Most of that makes sense. But for a character who is looking in and out of the peephole a couple of times in a row (pulling head away to talk to someone and then looking back out the peephole). How would you handle that?

This is a spec script. As in speculating that some would ever want to read a script I wrote. LOL.

Thanks for taking the time guys
 
That looks really nice, but I've had multiple people tell me it doesn't work well when you try to load the script into production software.

So it depends, again, on the purpose of the script.
To be honest? It really doesn't at all. When we write spec scripts? We should be writing them to be READ. Hence, why IT looks really nice. It's supposed to look really nice. It's supposed to read fast and easy. It should NEVER take you out of the story.

Shooting scripts are the scripts that go into production software. Those are a completely different animal. Which is why I have to smirk a bit when everyone says to just read screenplays to learn how to write a screenplay. 99% of the screenplays available ONLINE and for PURCHASE in Los Angeles are in fact, SHOOTING SCRIPTS.

Shooting scripts are screenplays normally written and or collaborated on by the director and cinematographer... Although, sometimes they will bring the screenwriter into the mix... Maybe even some other people working on the film but usually, it's the director and cinematographer creating an actual PRODUCTION SHOOTING SCRIPT from the spec screenplay that got everyone interested in the first place.

So while one can learn how to write screenplays from reading nothing but shooting scripts? In my humble opinion, this is just one tool in the toolbox and if you're only using one tool to build a house? Well, you get the picture.

A spec script -- as we already know -- is a screenplay written โ€œon speculation.โ€ In other words, there is no contract or development taking place. You're just CREATING on your own. Of course, as the screenwriter, you certainly hope your spec is going to gain interest that ends up translating into a sale... If not a sale? Then hopefully, work. Specs are how most screenwriters break into the industry.

Having said that... The spec that sells and the shooting script eventually TRANSCRIBED from the original spec are two completely different manuscripts.

To make NOTE of your comment... If there's something in a spec that may not load into some production software? It gets REWRITTEN so that it does load into the production software. That's why there are shooting scripts. That's why shooting scripts are created.

Shooting scripts contain all kinds of STUFF spec scripts should really never have... Things like, SCENE NUMBERS, TITLE SEQUENCES, CAMERA DIRECTION, etc. In addition to that? An ORIGINAL spec script that sold may be an almost flawless looking manuscript but once transcribed into a shooting script by completely different people? One can wonder how the damn thing sold in the first place because a lot of the suggestions people like myself make to people wanting to BREAK IN to the world of screenwriting almost immediately point out some shooting script they learned something from. Possibly, a shooting script written by someone who doesn't even know a lot about screenwriting in the first place... LOL. All they're really doing is TRANSCRIBING the writing that SOLD (because it reads and looks nice) into a blueprint for shooting a movie. At the point of transcription? Nobody's worried about passive voice and secondary scene location headings.

This could be DIFFERENT with some Indie films -- especially super low and no budget Indies but I've been involved in two Indie films that played in theaters and this is in fact, how it was done on our end.

Bottom line? Spec scripts are written to be READ. They're written to be SOLD. They're written to create a VISUAL in the READER'S mind. A movie, if you will. Shooting scripts are not written with any of that in mind. They are written to SHOOT the movie from. Plain and simple.
 
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Most of that makes sense. But for a character who is looking in and out of the peephole a couple of times in a row (pulling head away to talk to someone and then looking back out the peephole). How would you handle that?

This is a spec script. As in speculating that some would ever want to read a script I wrote. LOL.

Thanks for taking the time guys
There's really no RULE per se... You can use BACK TO SCENE if you want or you can just go back to the peephole. As long as it's CLEAR to whomever's reading your spec what's taking place? It's all good.
 
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