How to format a screenplay scene where the action alternates between 2 or more spots?

yaakovdov

Member
Question : In a screenplay, how should I format a scene in which the action and dialogue alternates between 2 or more spots in an open space?

Example: I have a scene where the action and dialogue (let's say, with James and David) occurs on an outdoor stage, viewed by a large crowd. Then another character (let's call her Scarlett) emerges high above on a nearby balcony, shouting down at the crowd. I currently have it formatted as below. Is this right? Could or should I do it differently?

EXT. LANDSVILLE TOWN SQUARE - THE STAGE - DAY

James and David do A and B and C.

SCARLETT'S BALCONY

Scarlett bears down from her Juliet balcony in Landsville Hall. All eyes on her.

SCARLETT
Blah blah blah ...​

THE STAGE

James does X.

DAVID
Blah blah blah​

SCARLETT'S BALCONY

SCARLETT
Blah blah blah ...​

THE STAGE

David does X Y and Z.

THE CROWD

The crowd do this and that.

SCARLETT'S BALCONY

SCARLETT
Blah blah blah ...​
 

pedramyz

Member
I think once you introduced the balcony, there is no need to mention it again each time you transition to scarlett. Since all the stuff are happening in one place I don't think you need to treat the balcony as a different place. Just write something like : Up on a terrace above scarlett shouts, sings,... . Since your other characters are reacting to her it's pretty easy to get your scene set up.
 
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jax_rox

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Yeah the balcony is still the same location so doesnt need a new header
 

yaakovdov

Member
Mmm, I have read in some places that secondary scene headers could or should be used for this, so I'm surprised no-ones addressed that yet? Unless I'm wrong?
 
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pedramyz

Member
Thanks for your responses thus far. I've been searching the internet to find where I may have read that i should do it this way, and I have found this example ...

https://gointothestory.blcklst.com/reader-question-what-does-a-secondary-slugline-shot-look-like-41273c5eb991

Does this change your opinion, and if not, why not?
You could use a secondary slugline but I wouldn't recommend it. the one difference this example has with your scene is that none of the characters there communicate with each other. Your characters are reacting to each other. that kind of merges the locations. my suggestion is go without the secondary slugline since it makes for a smoother read .
 

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