Screenwriting: How To Superimpose or Title Over

In screenwriting, it is possible to superimpose or title over a scene with important information. Generally, this title over will be used to show a time or place. Otherwise, the subtitles, translations and other text will be used and superimposed over the picture. However, it should not be used unless absolutely needed. In fact, some films actually spoof this as many films do overuse title overs.

Step 1: Title Overs Appearing in the Screenplay

Titles overs are found in many screenplays. This information is receded by the words title over and the location information, translation or time will be centered on the screen. When the title overs are much longer, such as those found in Star Wars, then the text will actually crawl over the screen.

Step 2: When to Use Title Overs

It is not necessary to use a title over for each new location. If the new locations are obvious, then titles are not needed. If the viewer may be confused about the location without titles, then something is needed to show the location or time.

Step 3: Director's Prerogative

Many writers will not include title overs, as they feel it is the director's choice. However, if you as the writer feel it is needed to help the story move along, then include it in the script. Titles can help the script read much more like the final film.

Step 4: Superimpose

Many times, a narration will be used in the screenplay called superimpose. This dialogue is superimposed over what is shown on the film. In a script, this will be seen as using the word SUPER, followed by a colon and then the text that is to be superimposed over that picture.

Step 5: Is it Needed?

Many times title overs or superimposed text is used too much in films. Go through the film without any text and see if you recognize all the locations. Does it make sense or is any section very confusing? If you completely understand what is going on with the locations and timing, then title overs are not necessary. However, if there is a location change and it is not clear where the area is, then adding superimposed text can help clear things up.

Step 6: Subtitles

Subtitles are a type of superimposed texts that will run throughout the entire movie. Some films will offer at least one type of subtitle throughout the entire film. These subtitles will be in another language.

Step 7: Credits

Credits are another type of superimposed text, though only a part of them will be superimposed over an actual image. For the full credits, these tend to be displayed on a black screen. It is common to have a photo of the character alongside the actor's name. In this case, the text will not appear at the bottom of the page, but elsewhere.

Step 8: Science Fiction

Science fiction films tend to use title overs more because they are dealing with fictional locations and periods of time in the future. Because these spots and time are not widely known, these title overs can be critical. This way, everyone will know what is going on, not just the die hard fans.