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I'm writing a script that has a news broadcast sequence to establish the background of the story, and then we see the main character is watching this news broadcast to transition from worldbuilding to POV.

As a director i'd want the news story to play fullscreen then the camera pulls back from the screen to show the room with the character and... story go. Nothing new here, but i'm stuck on how to write this :

Would it be best to break it into 2 scenes : 1. INT, STUDIO. NIGHT - Newsreader and dialogue of the newsreader verbatim. 2. INT, LIVINGROOM. DAY - TV is visible playing the end of the news broadcast, while MC does something.

Or is it one scene - INT, LIVINGROOM. DAY - and tv is mentioned upfront playing with all the details of the news broadcast?

I'm not sure how to break it up correctly.

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From a practical production standpoint, it's best to write them as two scenes, because for the newscaster's setting and dialogue, it will need to be shot in a separate studio or building, etc.

Aside about style: if you're not going to direct it, eliminate shooting directions except where it's absolutely essential to effectively conveying the story. Directors often ignore shooting directions and reinvent things spontaneously as they go; and they might have a better idea about how to shoot it besides (or, at least, think they do). "THE RETURN OF THE KING" almost completely ignores all shooting directions in the script.

  • +1 for point about practical production. My script had drifted that way with those thoughts in mind. – Spiffeah Jan 26 '16 at 11:39
  • So if the newscast shows video of other scenes, i.e. a lawyer giving a press conference on the courtroom steps, or highlights of the goings on in a courtroom, I should split those out into separate scenes as well? (how would I do the highlights part?) – Ser Pounce Apr 3 '16 at 13:11
  • If it's material the crew would need to shoot (it couldn't be easily just found and freely used), I'd say it should be a separate scene. But if it's intended to all show on a tv screen the script should make that clear as well. – r_alex_hall May 27 '16 at 4:11
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Final draft has a SHOT under the ELEMENTS menu

I would format it like this...

INT. LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

Steven watches a news broadcast on TELEVISION (This is in caps to indicate a prop)

ON TV (this is how a shot looks in final draft)

                      MALE NEWS REPORTER
              Blah, blah, blah!

ON STEVEN (Shot to indicate a return to the main scene)

When the script is broken down for production the shot will pop up.

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