Screenwriting – Montages

Without doing research on montages (I’ve only
used them when I’m directing and writing, or
working with a director as the screenwriter
when we’re writing the shooting script, which
is different than a spec script), I have to say
to limit the use of montages. I haven’t used
them for so long I find it hard to remember
how long they should be.

You want to be careful with montages. For a
new writers, some actors, directors and
producers look at new screenwriters using
montages as amateurish. Some would also
look at it as directing, which could cause
some negative feelings.

Montages are usually used in shooting scripts.
That means that the director working with
the screenwriter makes the decision, “Let’s
put in a montage here.” The director is
thinking in terms of the visuals and the flow,
how they fit into and tell the story. The producer,
on the other hand, would look at a way
to use montages to save money.

“The Zen of Spec Script Versus Shooting Script”

A shooting script, written from the
spec script by a screenwriter with
the director, puts everything in the
screenplay that needs to be there
for shooting. Therefore, the lines
spoken in a foreign language are
written out in its native language
for the actors.

The first time a character in your
spec script speaks in a foreign
language, simply put under the
character’s name in parenthesis,
(Spanish). Then proceed to write
the dialogue in English throughout
the rest of the script.

Remember, a spec script is written
to get doors to open. So, the
screenwriter must make the screenplay
easy to read, fast to read, and cut-to-the-
chase so that the reader can move on to
the next script he or she has to read.
They don’t want to stumble upon some
foreign language. They’ll toss the script
in the slush pile.

Donald L. Vasicek