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In a screenplay I'm writing, I want to use a rapid cut-together sequence of reaction shots from characters in several different locations already established earlier in the script. Is it still necessary to use the full new-scene notation for every different location? This seems a bit clumsy:

...

The three look up as the lights flicker, and the room suddenly goes dark.

INT. GARAGE - DUSK

We see ANDREA and PIETER, still sifting through the garage's contents, as the lights flicker and go out.

INT. CORRIDOR - DUSK

We see SAMMY in the middle of using a crowbar to open a door; the lights in the corridor flicker and go out.

INT. SECURITY OFFICE - DUSK

...

etc.

On the other hand, I don't want to break the normal formatting conventions. What's appropriate in this situation?

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Your format is correct, although I believe you would typically place "CUT TO" above the new scene. Screenplays have a very specific, well-established format, so it's best to stick to the conventions. For people who are used to reading screenplays, it will seem natural, not clumsy.

  • Agreed that the format is correct. It does seem clumsy but it is standard. But don't "CUT TO" any of the scenes. That's a camera direction and writers leave that to directors. Also, regarding the description, I'd take out those "We see..." as that will come across as amateur. We're reading a screenplay, we know that we'll see these things. Better instead to do: ANDREA and PIETER sift through the garage's contents as the lights flicker and go out. One more thing, if you've already established those characters, don't capitalize their names. – Deejay Jun 27 '15 at 20:07
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The smart thing to do is to add continuos to the slug line.

INT. GARAGE - NIGHT (CONTINOUS)

This indicates the action is happening at the same time as...

INT. SECURITY OFFICE - NIGHT (CONTINOUS)

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