Thursday, February 26, 2009

Understanding Screenwriting Terms — Part One

(Note: If the term appears in ALL CAPS below, then it must be written in ALL CAPS in your script)

Beat: Many scripts will use the parenthetical "(beat)" to interrupt a line of dialog. A "beat" suggests the actor should pause a moment, in silence, before continuing the scene. "Beats" are often interchangeable with ellipses "..."

CLOSE ON is a shot description that strongly suggests a close-up on some object, action, or person (an expressive body part such as the face, or a fist).

FAVOR ON A particular character or action is highlighted or "favored" in a shot. The focus is basically centered on someone or something in particular. Use only when necessary.

MATCH CUT TO: A transition often used to compare two completely unrelated objects. For example CLOSE ON hands on the baluster of a staircase cuts to CLOSE ON hands on a set of jail bars.

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