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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board  /  Screenwriting Class  /  Question about secondary headings...
Posted by: The Dark Horse, September 14th, 2018, 10:59am
Can you do secondary headings for a one room location?

For example...
INT. MARY'S CABIN - DINNER TABLE - NIGHT
THE BED
THE FIREPLACE.

Or do you think it's best just to keep it as Mary's Cabin and just chop it up as...
INT. MARY'S CABIN - NIGHT
LATER
HOURS LATER

Or maybe even...
INT. MARY'S CABIN - NIGHT
INT. MARY'S CABIN - NIGHT
INT. MARY'S CABIN - NIGHT
(which I hate)

Also. My other silly question was if you could just do a single heading like...


JOHN'S BEDROOM - NIGHT
JOHN'S BATHROOM - NIGHT

Instead of doing this constantly...
JOHN'S HOUSE - BEDROOM - NIGHT

Thanks,
Stuart
Posted by: JohnI, September 14th, 2018, 11:35am; Reply: 1
I guess but isnít it easier to say Mary waLKS OVER TO THE BED CAUSE THATíS PROBABLY WHATíS HAPPENING
Posted by: FrankM, September 14th, 2018, 2:54pm; Reply: 2
Subheads for locations within a room are definitely a thing, but you'd only use them if you plan to switch back and forth between these sub-locations.

A situation that comes to mind would be cutting from an on-stage play to a couple whispering in the audience, or different workstations inside the Mission Control Room, or some badguy waltzing through a room while some innocents cower behind a desk.

If each sub-location only gets visited once, you're better off just describing the movements in action.

One formatting oddity: you are supposed to have at least one line of action between the main header and the first sub-head, so often you'll describe your first sub-location in action. It only gets a subhead when you return to it.

Edit: There are examples of properly formatting sublocations on page 26 of the Who Wants to Be a Princess? script and page 9 of the Timmy script. As of this writing, both are linked in my signature, but each script needs a lot of work so anyone happening upon this message in the future may need to hunt a bit.
Posted by: JohnI, September 14th, 2018, 5:12pm; Reply: 3
By the way - sorry about the caps. Did it on my phone.
Posted by: The Dark Horse, September 16th, 2018, 2:29pm; Reply: 4
Hey. Thanks for the advice guys. Hmm. I'm half tempted to just describe it in action now. But still leaning towards that play-like format. Same time, I'd hate to look amateur for the script reader.

Do you think I should just go with...

INT. MARY'S CABIN - NIGHT
The family gather at DINNER TABLE.

INT. MARY'S CABIN - NIGHT
The family gather in BED.

Or could I still get away with this...

INT. MARYíS CABIN - NIGHT
Everyone gathers at the dinner table. John props up his rifle against the table. Close to him.

DINNER TABLE
John shifts around in his seat. Awkward.

Because half the film is set in one room, the sub headings help to break it up.

Thanks again.
Posted by: FrankM, September 16th, 2018, 10:00pm; Reply: 5
Subheadings should work in your situation. Two things to keep in mind:

- I'd use a full header if there's a non-trivial jump in time.

- You don't need a subhead for the initial location within a scene, but use one when you come back to it.

INT. MARY'S CABIN - NIGHT
Everyone gathers at the dinner table. John props up his rifle against the table, close to him.

Once everyone is settled, Mary heads into the

KITCHEN

Two raccoons chew on the roast that was placed on a window sill to cool.

MARY
John, would you be a dear and come in here a moment?

DINING ROOM

John looks to the guests apologetically.

JOHN
Sure, I'll be right there.

MARY (O.S.)
Bring the rifle.

The guests' eyebrows raise, and John's grin spreads from ear to ear.

Posted by: The Dark Horse, September 17th, 2018, 1:02pm; Reply: 6
Thank you very much, FrankM. I love this place.

Posted by: The Dark Horse, September 17th, 2018, 1:20pm; Reply: 7
Hmm. Would I still be able to do subheadings like...

THE BED
THE FIREPLACE
THE DINNER TABLE.

There's no dining room or kitchen. It's just one room.

Also. In another script I have...
EXT. NEW YORK CITY - DAY
The streets are chaos.
BIRDSEYE VIEW OF THE CITY
A hellscape filled with trash and crime. Thereís something dangerous and maybe even intoxicating about this place.

Would I be able to get away with the birdseye view as a secondary header? Or perhaps I should just write it as...

EXT. NEW YORK CITY - DAY
BIRDSEYE VIEW of the city. Its a hellscape filled with trash and crime.


Posted by: Dustin, September 17th, 2018, 2:13pm; Reply: 8
So long as it makes sense, you can do what you like. Don't overthink it.
Posted by: The Dark Horse, September 18th, 2018, 12:27pm; Reply: 9
Thanks Dustin. Yeah, I totally agree. It's all about a good story well told.

I read a few scripts today then realised they were making me nervous - both writers did entirely different things. I'm starting to think reading while deep into writing might not be a good idea - at least for confidence anyways.

Anyone feel the same way?
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