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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Screenwriting Discussion    Screenwriting Class  ›  Cutting between separate actions in the same... Moderators: George Willson
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MarkD
Posted: October 12th, 2020, 7:59pm Report to Moderator
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...location (and also logline on the title page?) (Couldn't fit the whole title)

Hello once again.

I'm continuing to work on my Mafia spec script sporadically. As the title says, I'm wondering how to "cut" between separate actions that are occurring in essentially the same location. Here 's the segment as it is currently written.


Quoted Text
EXT. HOBOKEN STREET - NIGHT

Tommy exits the taxi and leans against the driver's side
door. He takes out a lighter and a cigarette from his
pockets. Lights it. Takes a drag.

INTERCUT

On a nearby street, a red Studebaker car is being chased by
a blue car of the same make. A man in the front passenger
seat leans out and fires a couple of pot shots.

A man in the chasing car returns fire.

INTERCUT

Tommy, oblivious to what's happening a couple streets away,
takes another drag from his cigarette.

INTERCUT

The red car swerves to avoid an oncoming Model T runabout.
The blue car nearly sideswipes it. The passengers in both
vehicles continue to exchange fire.

INTERCUT

Tommy continues to take puffs from his cigarette. Just then,
a loud crash is heard nearby. He turns his head in the
direction of the sound.


Obviously that is a lot of intercuts. In the finished film (if it was made into one anyway) we would be cutting back and forth between Tommy taking a smoke break and the car chase. Is there a better way to indicate this without using all those intercuts?

Lastly, I've noticed a few spec scripts include the logline on the title page. Should I adopt that practice as well?

Thanks everyone.
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LC
Posted: October 12th, 2020, 8:29pm Report to Moderator
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That method of Intercut I wouldn't use. I save Intercut for phone conversations between two people in different locations. You're talking about intercutting action.

Establishing the two scenes up front in scene headers is necessary first imho.

I'd do more like this:
https://scriptmag.com/screenplays/ask-the-expert-intercut-conversations-and-actions

I'd write a scene header for where that Studebaker is for example after the first scene header to establish first.
The constant writing of Intercut slows everything down imho.

This too:
a red Studebaker car is being chased by
a blue car of the same make.

Is being chased - Is too static.
Show us the car careening down the road, flying around corners perhaps, the other car in pursuit.

Look at the Pilot episode for The Shield as one example, lots of frantic action in the opening.
I'm sure others will have examples too.

http://thetelevisionpilot.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Screenplay-Shield-Pilot.pdf

Re your last query re logline, I've noticed that too lately.
I wouldn't do it personally, but up to you.




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LC  -  October 12th, 2020, 8:42pm
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eldave1
Posted: October 14th, 2020, 1:58pm Report to Moderator
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IMO - Intercut is not the correct way to handle this. See Libby's note above re: phone conversation and whenever you think of INTERCUT - think INTERACT - are your characters interacting - like in a phone call? If not - you don't have an intercut (i.e., interact) - you merely have two scenes going on at the same time.

If it were me - I'd be tempted to go for a master header for the city and mini-slugs for the street action - something like (I'll make the town up):

EXT. DOWNTOWN TRENTON NEW JERSEY  - NIGHT

City lights twinkle in the darkness. Streets are relatively
empty - the wee hours. Meanwhile on --

FIRST STREET

Tommy exits the taxi and leans against the driver's side
door. He takes out a lighter and a cigarette from his
pockets. Lights it. Takes a drag.

THIRD STREET - SAME TIME

A red Studebaker car is being chased by
a blue car of the same make. A man in the front passenger
seat leans out and fires a couple of pot shots.

A man in the chasing car returns fire.  Back at --

FIRST STREET

Tommy, oblivious to what's happening,
takes another drag from his cigarette. Back at --

THIRD STREET

The red car swerves to avoid an oncoming Model T runabout.
The blue car nearly sideswipes it. The passengers in both
vehicles continue to exchange fire.

FIRST STREET

Tommy continues to take puffs from his cigarette. Just then,
a loud crash is heard nearby. He turns his head in the
direction of the sound.


So - If it were me I would set it up so I could use mini-slugs for the streets. Some peeps will tell you to go with full headers - I think clarity is king and the mini's do the trick.  The only wrong thing to do is to go with INTERCUT - because as I said above - they are not interacting.



My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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Yuvraj
Posted: October 14th, 2020, 2:45pm Report to Moderator
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As stated above, generally intercut is used in phone conversations.

Just go with new scene heading for each location every time.

Still you can write the way as you mentioned since there are no definitive rules in screenwriting, only guidelines. So if your way of writing this suits you, go for it.

Good luck.


Most recent script: DEAD AHEAD
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LC
Posted: October 14th, 2020, 6:53pm Report to Moderator
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Mark, to reiterate, I personally wouldn't write it the way you have it with all those Intercuts. It's too jarring and takes away from a seamless building of action in different locations.

I think contrary to what I said (though the norm for Intercut is telephone conversations) Intercutting action sequences is done but like Dave said in a way that creates better flow and action and suspense between scenes.

When writing a Spec I'd stick with Industry Standard generally unless you're sure your way is going to read fast and be impressive on the eye. Constant Intercut headings doesn't do it, at least not for me.

I'd read some high octane action Pro scripts and see how it's done but moving from scene to scene (short action scenes) should do it.

Here's another example:
https://www.scriptgodsmustdie.com/2010/02/format-7-intercuts/

Go to the bottom and ignore the phone conversation example.

If I come across something better I'll post it up.

P.S. I frequently go back to Collateral (the script) The Fugitive, and the Bourne scripts which all have lots of Intercut/crosscut action sequences.

http://www.dailyscript.com/scripts/collateral_101203.pdf


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Dreamscale
Posted: October 14th, 2020, 8:23pm Report to Moderator
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The way Dave said is the way to go.

You need proper Slugs, and if you set it up correctly, like Dave said, you can use Mini Slugs for the exact smaller locales.


To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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