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Old 11-10-2017, 02:38 PM   #1
Bossman214
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Screenwriting format questions

Hi. I AM EXCITED TO BE HERE!

I am new here and working a number of great screenplays. I am using Final Draft but still have formatting questions. My first is - I am opening my script with a black screen with dialog (radio station) underneath. Silence abruptly starts and we open on a home exterior. Presently I have this description in all caps and am breaking out the dialog between the 3 anonymous radio personalities.

Should a description like this be in all caps. Every answer makes me a little smarter and a little closer to my Oscar. Thanks!
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Old 11-10-2017, 02:40 PM   #2
stevencwood
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bossman214 View Post
Hi. I AM EXCITED TO BE HERE!

I am new here and working a number of great screenplays. I am using Final Draft but still have formatting questions. My first is - I am opening my script with a black screen with dialog (radio station) underneath. Silence abruptly starts and we open on a home exterior. Presently I have this description in all caps and am breaking out the dialog between the 3 anonymous radio personalities.

Should a description like this be in all caps. Every answer makes me a little smarter and a little closer to my Oscar. Thanks!
FADE IN:

OVER BLACK

RADIO DJ
Blah blah blah blah blah blah

INT. LIVING ROOM - DAY
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Old 11-10-2017, 03:07 PM   #3
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It would make more sense if you fade out instead so the reader knows it's a black screen and then have the DJ do his broadcast within the black screen. I think that is how he wanted it done.
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Old 11-10-2017, 03:09 PM   #4
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It would make more sense if you fade out instead so the reader knows it's a black screen and then have the DJ do his broadcast within the black screen. I think that is how he wanted it done.
Fade out is reserved for the end of a screenplay.
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Old 11-10-2017, 03:12 PM   #5
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So the transition should be black screen?
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Old 11-10-2017, 04:06 PM   #6
jax_rox
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Fade out does not make sense at the start of the script. OVER BLACK explains perfectly.
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Old 11-10-2017, 04:19 PM   #7
Bossman214
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevencwood View Post
FADE IN:

OVER BLACK

RADIO DJ
Blah blah blah blah blah blah

INT. LIVING ROOM - DAY
Ahhh... That makes sense. Google Over Black. Now I know. Being a descriptive writer with a DP eye I am always wanting to describe. There is random banter from the DJ's then they speak to an occurrence. SO, I have this. Which prefaces the individual dialog. In screenwriting rules, is this correct?


(ALL CAPS)"The sound of early morning radio hosts chattering and laughing can be heard. The normal morning subjects and banter permeates the darkness and signifies that it is a new day - a day just like any other."

Character
Dialog.........

ABRUPTLY, ALL VOICES AND SOUNDS STOP LEAVING AN EERIE SILENCE

FADE-IN
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Old 11-10-2017, 04:24 PM   #8
indietalk
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stevencwood got it right.

I also believe you can OVER BLACK before you FADE IN:

OVER BLACK

RADIO DJ
Blah blah blah blah blah blah

FADE IN:

INT. LIVING ROOM - DAY
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Old 11-13-2017, 09:04 AM   #9
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stevencwood got it right.

I also believe you can OVER BLACK before you FADE IN:

OVER BLACK

RADIO DJ
Blah blah blah blah blah blah

FADE IN:

INT. LIVING ROOM - DAY
That's right huh? What are you gonna do, fade into a black screen? START with "OVER BLACK" and go from there.
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Old 11-13-2017, 12:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bossman214 View Post
Presently I have this description in all caps and am breaking out the dialog between the 3 anonymous radio personalities.

Should a description like this be in all caps.
No. The description should not be in all caps.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bossman214 View Post
(ALL CAPS)"The sound of early morning radio hosts chattering and laughing can be heard. The normal morning subjects and banter permeates the darkness and signifies that it is a new day - a day just like any other."
This isn't necessary. There is an old adage “Show. Don't tell.” Since
what is heard is radio hosts talking it might be best to just write out
what they they are saying. Don't “tell” the reader what their banter
signifies, allow your dialogue to show it.

I know it's traditional to start every screenplay with “FADE IN:” so
much so that even if there is no fade in writers do it. As a transition
a “fade in” signifies going from black to an image. The "fade out"
goes from an image to black.
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Old 11-21-2017, 11:47 AM   #11
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Don't give your opinion (a day just like any other)

If the radio hosts are chattering, it should have relevance to the story. If it's early morning then their banter should convey this idea,,, that means you need to script what it is they are saying. ... If it is truly meaningless what they are chattering about, then maybe it should be unintelligible.

I use Final Draft too and it pretty much takes care of the formatting for you. Besides, who really cares? Unless you want to sell your script to Hollywood, don't get bogged down with formatting rules. Open black - fade to black - black screen,,, the intention is clear however you write it..
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Old 11-21-2017, 12:03 PM   #12
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Format is a universal language. It's not just for Hollywood. This person is asking for correct formatting and your advice is to abandon it because he is not in Hollywood? PS. You are also assuming he is not writing a spec script to shop to Hollywood.
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Old 11-21-2017, 05:39 PM   #13
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A thousand pardons.

I was just thinking back on the career of George Romero who made many films outside Hollywood and who never felt a need to follow any of their norms. .... I use Final Draft to type my scripts. Beyond that, I'm not interested in those little things that we've all heard horror stories about. The stories of the producer who throws away a script because he didn't like the font that was used. It might be true but Troy Duffy wrote Boondock Saints and sold it to Marimax. The guy never wrote a screenplay in his life and didn't appear to be the type to learn all the little "rules".. He sold his script. Maybe he had someone edit and format the thing. Who knows, but my point is, there is more than one way to skin a cat (nothing against cats).

Last edited by Velusion; 11-21-2017 at 05:51 PM.
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Old 11-21-2017, 06:16 PM   #14
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LOL no need for pardons. But those that break the rules usually do so out of a resistance to conformity, inexperience, or they are trailblazers. But when one seeks out the actual rules, my intuition tells me they are interested in learning them, which indeed is good to know, if you are going to break them.
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