format I need help with a scene

I'm writing a dodgeball scene. Two kids (captains) are picking their teammates from a large group of junior high school kids. Our hero gets picked last and narrates over the shot. He explains the shame of being picked last in gym class. I want the group to get smaller and smaller as the two kids pick their players but I didn't want to go through each kid. How could I write this, showing the group getting smaller and smaller until there's just two kids left standing?? Time Cut? Match Cut? Dissolve?
 
I'm not a screenwriter, but I would just give the narration and the scene Instructions" would indicate that the pool of players dwindles as the narration continues.
 

mlesemann

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Avoid directing in the script - so NOT match cut, dissolve, etc.

You can do a series of short scenes with slug lines that say "a moment later" or "a few seconds later." And each scene includes a smaller number of kids.
 

TheMusicBox

Member
I'm reminded of this short scene in Megamind. As opposed to watching the number of kids decrease as they're being picked, instead we just see him as being the last one picked. This still effectively gets the point across of his shame, sadness and feeling of being different but it also allows the scene to move on quickly.

I'm not sure if it's exactly what you want, but this may serve as some good inspiration:
 

jax_rox

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I don't know the context - but do you need it to be separate slug lines?

INT. SCHOOL GYM - DAY
The class is gathered as TWO JOCKS pick dodgeball teams. TOM stands at the back. One by one, the other students file in behind the two team captains.

TOM (V.O.)
It was always this way during school...

Tom waits expectantly as the crowd around him thins.

TOM (V.O.)
Always picked last in dodgeball...

Only Tom and one other student remains to be picked. After a moment, the other student is finally selected and leaves to join a team. Tom is left alone. The jocks share a glance. They shrug and lead their teams away.

Seems easier to read and a bit more straightforward than:

INT. SCHOOL GYM - DAY
The class is gathered as TWO JOCKS pick dodgeball teams. TOM stands at the back.

INT. SCHOOL GYM - MOMENTS LATER
The crowd thins as more students get picked for teams

INT. SCHOOL GYM - A BIT LATER
Only a few children remain to be picked for teams

INT. SCHOOL GYM - LATER AGAIN
Two students remain. Tom and one other. The other student is selected, leaving Tom last.


Unless it's really necessary:

INT. SCHOOL GYM - DAY
The class is gathered as TWO JOCKS pick dodgeball teams. TOM stands at the back. One by one, the other students file in behind the two team captains.

TOM (V.O.)
It was always this way during school...

Only two students remain to be picked: Tom and Sam. A jock picks Sam and she joins the team. Tom is the only one left.
INT. SCHOOL GYM - MUCH LATER
The sun has started to set. Tom is still alone, waiting to join a team. The jocks play paper scissor rock to determine who will take Tom. The school bell rings. The jocks jump and sprint through the gym door. The rest of the class moan as they collect their belongings.


CLASS
(murmuring)
This always happens. We never get
to play because no-one wants Tom..
 
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mlesemann

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I want the group to get smaller and smaller as the two kids pick their players but I didn't want to go through each kid.
I agree with @jax_rox that that's easier, but I had the impression from this quote that he didn't want to do it that way.
So that's why I substituted the slug lines for a different scene each time with a smaller number of kids.
It's clunkier in the script but I think it conveys what he's going for and would be easy and quick in the movie itself.
 

indietalk

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It would look cool to do a time lapse but the kid is standing still, so the kids disappear from around him in a blur of motion but he stands with the same expression until he is alone.

This is direction, but maybe you are directing it so figured it might help with the one-by-one.
 
From the perspective of someone who was always second-last to be picked for the team (my best friend was always left till the very end ...) there was never any gradual reduction of the class size: I/we knew from the minute the teacher named the two captains that we'd be standing there at the end, then playing on opposite teams.

So perhaps that contributed to my first thought when I read your post, and before I'd got as far as indietalk's : I would visualise that scene starting with a crowd and then either emphasise the "busy-ness" of the selection process with a classic timelapse of the other children scurrying like beetles to their respective teams; or the "irrelevance" of the other characters by having them just disappear (with appropriate sound effect!) rapidly, one after the other ...
 

mdncimema

Member
Dissolve the scene with a noticeable deminishing number of kids which will illustrate your intended message and also give a time lapse effect.
 

jax_rox

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I’m thinking it could be even quicker in the script than what I wrote (hello second draft 😏).

INT. SCHOOL GYM - DAY
TOM waits in a pack of other junior high students. TWO JOCKS stand at the front of the class and pick their team mates one by one. The group thins out around Tom until he is the last one left.


TOM (V.O.)
No-one has ever wanted to
be the guy picked last for dodgeball.

After a moment, Tom is finally picked and he moves off towards one of the teams.

I mean sure if you’re Directing it yourself, write it how you want and how it makes sense to you; personally if I were working on the film I feel like I would be more confused by a series of scene headings than a short scene that describes the action effectively and a note from the Director saying ‘I wanna do this as a time lapse’. As always YMMV. Brevity isn’t always best (the thing also has to be somewhat interesting/engaging to read), but simplicity often is.
 
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niune

Member
What about if you start with a shot of the two captains and shift to a wide shot showing a bunch of kids and as the camera slowly zooms in on the main boys face you can see kids leaving his side one by one. A distant music as background and monologue of the boys feelings could play out to introduce the audience to his emotions? "Oh god not this again. Why didn't I just skip today.. Seriously Tom gets picked before me? Tom? This sucks. I hate it". And then he snaps out of it because his name gets called or such and the view moves from him standing alone to now two captains with full teams on their sides?

I don't have any technical background and are just someone with storytelling dreams so sorry for such messy explanation but maybe it will give a different perspective ? :cheers:
 

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