Screenwriting: How To Write a Series of Shots
Screenwriting, or a series of shots, is similar, but different when creating a montage. A series of shots can be used specifically to show an event that is occurring without interrupting the flow of the scene. This differs from a montage, as montages tend to depict a passage of time, and this is not necessary of a series of shots. For example, a series of shots can be used as a dream sequence or other similar type of event.
Step 1: The Story
A series of shots will be its own little mini story with a beginning middle and end. Normally, there is a shot for each section. The shots will all go in a sequence that tends to stay in one location. Many times for heist films, a series of shots it used to show the heist going perfectly. The entire event is not shown, just bits and pieces.
Step 2: Where
Determining the best place to use a series of shots can be tricky. Many times, if a scene is going to be very long, condensing it into a series of shots is a good choice. Generally, scenes in which there are little to no dialogue are the best.
Step 3: Writing
Writing the series of shots is very similar to writing a montage. It will have its own headline, entitled series of shots, and each shot will have its own element, normally described in a brief sentence. There are many examples in old scripts of the types of formatting that are used, so check for examples on the type of formatting that is used. Many times, a series of shots will not be labeled as such, as it will make the action flow much smoother.
Step 4: Location
A series of shots will occur in the same location. The shots will detail any action that occurs at this location. A great example is of a natural disaster. An earthquake is occurring and the shots will comprise of what occurs at a building. Things begin to shake, stones and objects fall, people duck under cover and more.
Step 5: Point of View
You can be very creative with a series of shots by showing the action from different points of view. As long as the short sequence is occurring, then displaying it from the different people in the room can make for something quite interesting. Many writers will use the series of shots to show how the different points of view look at the action taking place. This is a fast and easy way to show several points of view at once.
Step 6: Number of Shots
A series of shots will not contain many shots. Normally 3 is the average number. When more shots are involved, then this tends to start to edge into montage area where time is involved. If you are unsure of how many shots to include, then start looking at some similar films and note how many shots are used. If possible, getting the script can speed this up as many times a series of shots will be titled such in the script.