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I am writing a movie where a character has an interview with a news reporter. The scenes segues into a character profile of the interviewee that features a voice over from the interviewer. How would I format this in a way that conveys that the scenes are happening continuously?

  • Is the subject of the interview live in the studio (either sitting next to the interviewer or otherwise able to communicate by audio/visual means)? If not, is this a written interview or an edited film piece (think a News Magazine or a program ala 60 Minutes)? Or is the piece a "Man on the Street" style Interview (the reporter is in the field and discusses an issue or event with a random person who passes by)? I ask because these elements may change the nature of how to format the scene. – hszmv Apr 1 at 15:39
  • I changed the title because you're asking something else and it was confusing with your other question. writing.stackexchange.com/questions/44266/… – Cyn says make Monica whole Apr 2 at 15:22
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You're asking two things (due to Cyn's title change?):

  • How to make scenes appear to happen continuously
  • And how to make them appear as if happening in parallel/simultaneously

Continuously

I'm not a scriptwriter, but I think the general impression is that scene changes in a manuscript always happens continuously unless you do a "Fade to black"...

After all, what else would the camera be up to, if not going over to the next scene the moment the previous one ends? ;)

Simultaneously

I interpret "simultaneously" as being in parallel, in the chronological timeline (i.e. in the lives of the characters).

From the technical script writing POV; I don't know. I don't think there is any way other than what I'm about to suggest to do it though...

You use events and visual clues that these two scenes are happening at the same time.

You could have a "global" event (e.g. a bomb going off) and then show different plots leading up to or expanding from that event, thus indicating that they are happening in parallel.

"Pulp Fiction" is an example. "Lost Boy", episode 11 of season 2 of "Colony" is another very interesting example.

All seasons of "24" has the premise that many different threads are unfolding in parallel during the 24 hours of a season. This is achieved by showing the characters "mid-action" pursuing their goals and ambitions throughout an episode.

An important aspect of "24" is that each season is bracketed by some significant event that affects all characters. We know that things are in essence happening at the same time because everyone is either busy catching the terrorists, or setting off (more?) bombs.

One technical gimmick present in "24" is to use split screens. However, "24" only uses them very briefly, and only as an effect to underline the parallelism of the show.

The point is, you mostly do parallelism by writing the manuscript and what happens in the story in such a way that it becomes obvious it is happening in parallel, scene by scene.

In fact, you could say parallelism is just an extreme example of "chronological timeline" management in a script.

All my examples are action-oriented, but I think that's just my preference. It shouldn't be hard (or yeah it definitely is) to do it in any other genre as well, I'm just lost for good examples...

  • The old title was "How to write a news interview in a script?" If you feel I used the word "simultaneously" in error, go ahead and edit in a better title. I was trying to match the body of the post. If the word I used was different enough to mess that up, it should be changed. – Cyn says make Monica whole Apr 13 at 15:31
  • @Cyn I know. I checked the original as well. I guess we want the question to be focused. But I think exactly what the question is will be up to the original poster. Karen, are you asking about continuity, parallel events/scenes or both? Although, as per my answer, the continuity question is, as far as I can see, pretty simple to answer... – Erk Apr 14 at 14:00

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