Screenwriting : Formatting a time jump and a dream/vision in the slugline by Krista Crawford

Krista Crawford

Formatting a time jump and a dream/vision in the slugline

After the opening scene in my script, I jump ahead a year in time and the first scene after that time jump is the main character having a dream/vision where we don't see the main character at all, it's just a series of shots, basically like a nightmare. The scene after that is the main character waking up. I'm not quite sure the best way to format that in the slugline. The vision/nightmare is taking place in a house, it's a series of shots as we see a figure moving up a staircase and entering a room. Right now I just have INT. HOUSE - NIGHT - MOVING - ONE YEAR LATER and then write out the series of shots. The next scene, where the character wakes up, I have INT. MOTEL ROOM - NIGHT. Is there a better way of doing this or is this okay? Should I have the words VISION or NIGHTMARE/DREAM in the slugline?

Dan Guardino

If all you have is a series of shots you wouldn't need or want to use a slugline.

SERIES OF SHOTS: If you want to say he or she is dreaming you can say that here.

- blah, blah, blah

- blah, blah, blah

- blah, blah, blah

You can say it was a dream here if you wanted to instead.

INT. MOTEL ROOM - NIGHT

- blah, blah, blah...

Doug Nelson

The Director's perspective. I've done scenes/transitions where the audience moves through time, location, into dream and back out of dream (flashback). Slow fade to black, new scene(s)... fade to white (back to scene). Talk with your Director.

Krista Crawford

Hey Dan, building on what you're saying... so instead of doing the normal INT. HOUSE whatever, I would just do SERIES OF SHOTS: NIGHTMARE ? Would I put the one year later in there as well or wait until the next scene where the character wakes up ala INT. MOTEL ROOM - NIGHT - ONE YEAR LATER?

Doug, makes sense. I'll be shooting an updated draft of the script off to them at the end of the week and I'll see what they say.

Dan Guardino

No. Just use you master scene heading for interior or exterior - location - time

Time is when they have to film like if it is a DAY shoot or a NIGHT shoot in most cases.

If you want the audience to know it is a year later then you might want to superimpose it so it will appear on the screen.

INT. MOTEL ROOM - NIGHT

SUPER: ONE YEAR LATER

Blah, blah, blah...

Barry John Terblanche

Dan said it correct in both replies... Also, don't think too much into the script police that don't exist. Sometimes you just gotta say (write) something to explain to the reader - what you want to convey... them to understand. That was nothing to do with production. The production shooting script sorts that out.

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