How would you write a basketball game in a script?

This is something I'll need help with. I'm writing this movie. It's a basketball-themed film and right now I'm just skipping around so i can do the game scenes last but how would you write basketball game scenes in a script?

I mean, it kind of just happens how it happens in the movie. I mean, in a basketball movie (or any sports movie for that matter) it just seems like they play as if the cameras, production crew, and equipment are absent. Well, that does kind of change if you want a particular team to win or score at a certain number.

Please help me out with this.

Natalie
 

mlesemann

Staff Member
Moderator
Have you ever listened to a radio broadcast of a basketball game? That's roughly how I would do it.

If I were doing something with the Brooklyn Nets, maybe something like this:

Paul Pierce dribbles to mid-court.
He passes to Andre Kirilenko in the far corner.
Kirilenko heaves a 3 point attempt - no good.
Rebounded by Deron Williams.
 
Paul Pierce dribbles to mid-court.
He passes to Andre Kirilenko in the far corner.
Kirilenko fires one from the land of trois - no good.
Rebounded by Deron Williams.

...I modified your Kirilenko line to something I heard a local announcer say. I thought it was a funny way to illustrate a 3-pointer.

-Birdman
 
Yes. As mleseman says, be specific about it. Play by play. And, as Birdman adds, find a way to make it kinetic on the page.

Here's an action line from the screenplay for Rocky.

The BELL for the second round RINGS... Rocky rushes out fast
and furious. Apollo melts out a left hook that raises a
goose egg over Rocky's eye... Apollo employs footwork that
dazzles Rocky. He has class. He studies Rocky and employs
his lightning jab with cutting accuracy. Still Rocky shuffles
ahead, bombarding Creed's midsection with hooks.

ANOTHER ANGLE

Apollo assaults Rocky with blinding
combinations and delivering a stupendous right cross that
flings Rocky into the ropes and shatters his nose... The
round ends.

An interesting note on this. When Rocky was actually being filmed, Stallone had to get even more specific. In fact, he wrote out the entire fight sequences literally punch for punch.
 
Is everything that happens during the game relevant to the story? If not, you can write "Some dudes play basketball" :)

Nah, even I would write it a little more professional than that! :lol:

Yes. As mleseman says, be specific about it. Play by play. And, as Birdman adds, find a way to make it kinetic on the page.

Here's an action line from the screenplay for Rocky.



An interesting note on this. When Rocky was actually being filmed, Stallone had to get even more specific. In fact, he wrote out the entire fight sequences literally punch for punch.

Thanks. I even considered looking at examples from other screenplays to help me out.

Have you ever listened to a radio broadcast of a basketball game? That's roughly how I would do it.

If I were doing something with the Brooklyn Nets, maybe something like this:

Paul Pierce dribbles to mid-court.
He passes to Andre Kirilenko in the far corner.
Kirilenko heaves a 3 point attempt - no good.
Rebounded by Deron Williams.

That helps. Appreciate the advice.

Also, have any of you guys seen Coach Carter? Having the screenplay from that film would've helped since that film is LITTERED with basketball game scenes for obvious reasons. But unfortunately I can't find the screenplay for that film, UGH!!!!!:grumpy:

Anyways, I appreciate the help. Thanks guys.
 
I think you should write the scenes in terms that any layperson can understand, but you need to understand the strategies and goings-on of what's happening in your scene.

Do you know what it means to set a pick in the high post? How does a defense play traps? What's run-and-gun? What's the inside-outside game?

If you can't easily answer each of these questions, plus a whole bunch more, then anyone who actually plays basketball will probably see your movie as cheesy and fake. If you want to make it realistic, you've simply gotta learn the game (and it's a great game :yes:).
 
Do you know what it means to set a pick in the high post? How does a defense play traps? What's run-and-gun? What's the inside-outside game?

He writes to sell? Or shoot himself? Suppose he sells it. What if the producer, director, and none of the casting crew knows what you've just written, because they never played basketball, or played somewhere in elementary school? :) Will they call the screenwriter to ask :) or will they try to do something on their own? And who knows what they gonna do.
 
Good Morning Gents and Ladies,
I am actually working on my script which is faith base but actually dealing with traumas and social issues and I get into the basketball scenes and this chat here really helped, I played also some games on you-tube and training session cause my scripts deals with college games and session during school hours, so definitely this post here helped me as well.

Just reading from everyone view point.

Thank you

UMo, EA
@darkvalleymovie
 
I just finished some scene of the basketball game here on my side, but since mine was like a training session in the college where the team members first have to do some foot walks and push ups and all that before the practice game, it was quite different but all together it helps a lot being here and getting direction from you guys , it really help. Also I had to do some research so i could use the right phrases as well that has to do with the game, you realized that watching a game and actually writing how you want a game to go is two different things lololol
 
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