Smith July 21, When I began writing my first crime novel, I knew it would be a challenge. But there was one aspect of writing that I was sure would be much easier than the rest: The plot was going to take a lot of work, the research would be arduous, the character development would drain me — but the action scenes were going to be a breeze.
It seems one school of thought advocates cutting to a new shot and mentioning it via format every time there is a camera change: JOHN drives off quickly. The other way seems to say let the action be described in the writing, without all the shot descriptions.
They both jump into the car and drive off quickly, leaving their partner to die in the street. To me, it seems that describing EVERY camera cut and shot change breaks up the flow of the read and tips off the reader as to what will come next, rather than having them be surprised.
What is the preferred method for first-time writers? Here are some guidelines: Do not over cut any sequence. Anything that distracts from the narrative is a very bad thing.
Do not use scene numbers. In your actual script, scene numbers are unnecessary, distracting and unprofessional.
Numbering scenes is a tool strictly for production drafts to help Assistant Directors and others break down the script for shooting purposes. Shots within a scene usually have a shorter form than a full location slug. Sparks fly as it scrapes along. You are trying to create a visual experience through writing and you can do whatever you need to in order to create the image and feel you want.
It is a sound. Yet, it has a visual impact on the page and does the job. Look at the tone of the overall screenplay. Keep the tone of the slugs in the action sequence consistent, even if more demonstrative. Hard action picture specs frequently have somewhat of a comic book feel. Most importantly, read lots of action scripts.
It should be clear, concise, easy to follow, and fully convey the excitement of the sequence. Remember, any studio can hire any professional writer to write a sequence like one already written.When you’re writing an action movie, and your hero does a selfless act like saving a cat, try to use that cat for another purpose in your screenplay.
In Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, at the beginning of the movie, Ethan is imprisoned in a Russian jail cell. There is no universal way of writing action scenes.
As with all formatting advice, the goal is to clearly express your vision without taking the reader out of the screenplay. However that is best accomplished for your scene is the right way to write it.
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All action sequences have a beginning, middle, and end. Inject conflict, emotion, tension, suspense, etc. And have fun, because writing action sequences should be just that. With a good Action script you can write your own ticket. But Action is the most deceptively challenging genre in Hollywood.
What may seem simple and straightforward on the movie screen actually requires careful planning and extremely creative solutions from . Writing Great Action Sequences By: Script Magazine | June 23, Glenn M. Benest is an award-winning writing producer with seven produced screenplays, including two that were directed by Wes Craven.