Thursday, March 20, 2014

Script Format Guide - Flashbacks - Story Sense®

Script Format Guide - Flashbacks - Story Sense®



Story Sense® - Script Analysis from a Hollywood Script Doctor

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Analysis


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Flashbacks


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Flashbacks and dreams place us in
the mind of the character who is relating them.  This causes us to identify
with that character, drawing us into their story.  Unless that character is
our main character, though, our empathy will be split, and the dramatic force of
the narrative weakened. 
Flashbacks interrupt the narrative
flow, and should be used only when it's not possible to tell the story
chronologically.  Don’t use a flashback to merely to illustrate what the characters are relating
verbally.  It’s often more effective to remain focused on the
character who is telling the story, so as to gauge what the experience means to
them.
If you use flashbacks, make
certain they are motivated.  Lead into the flashback by focusing on the
character who is experiencing it, and then return to that same character after
the flashback.  The events may not be as significant as
how the character feels about them.  Consequently, it's essential that we
see the character's reaction.
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The proper technique for
taking us into a flashback sequence is to insert the line “BEGIN FLASHBACK:”
(in ALL CAPS and without the quotes) formatted as an
action element
There should be only one blank line between this and the
heading of the
first scene of the flashback:

 

BEGIN FLASHBACK:


INT. MAIN CONTROL BOOTH (BUILDING 1) - NIGHT


Rachel puts down the phone.  A KNOCKING startles her. 
She turns to see Sgt. Hughes peering up at her from the foyer.
 
 


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The spacing before “BEGIN
FLASHBACK:” is the same as the spacing before a scene heading.  If you triple-space (two blank
lines) before each scene heading, you also must triple-space before “BEGIN
FLASHBACK:”, and double-space (one blank line) after it.  Unfortunately, if you enter “BEGIN FLASHBACK:” as an
action element,
there will be only one blank line above it, and two blank lines below it. 
This means that, if you triple-space your scene headings (the preferred spacing), you must “cheat” the
spacing before “BEGIN FLASHBACK:” as well as the spacing before the scene
heading which follows it.
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Each scene in a flashback must have its own
heading, even if it occurs in the same location as the character who
is
experiencing the flashback.
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Another
action line takes us
out of the flashback with the words “END FLASHBACK.”  (The period should be
included.)  It would be incorrect to insert the
slug line
“BACK TO SCENE” because the flashback is the scene. 
We must instead follow the flashback with a new
scene heading, even if we
are returning to the same place we were prior to the flashback (which is
usually the case):

 

END FLASHBACK.




INT. POLICE DEPARTMENT/INTERROGATION ROOM - DAY


Tears are streaming down Rachel's face.

                          
RACHEL
              It sounded like him.  I wish...
 


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If the flashback consists of
only one scene, it’s acceptable to simply write “(FLASHBACK)” as the last
part of the scene heading:

 

INT. CHEVY IMPALA - DAY -
(FLASHBACK)
 


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The same applies for dream and
fantasy sequences.

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