Screenwriting – Montages or Series of Shots

Castle Trail in Colorado

Dear Spec Script Screenwriters,

I encourage you to buy “The Complete Guide to Standard Script Formats: Part I: The Screenplay” by Cole/Haag. You will need it sooner or later, so the sooner you get it, the handier it will be for you.

With respect to “Montages” or “Series of Shots” (Cole/Haag uses “Series of Shots”, not “Sequence of Shots”) by Cole/Haag:

“One of the major differences between a SERIES OF SHOTS and a MONTAGE is that a SERIES OF SHOTS uses the principles (the major characters) and is filmed during the actual shooting schedule of the film. A MONTAGE is put together during post production in the editing process. Basically a “laboratory” operation, if you will.”

In my opinion, I would suggest you stay away from using either one of these unless you’re working with the director when writing the shooting script. The reason for that is that a SERIES OF SHOTS is utilized in the shooting script, not the spec script. Using SERIES OF SHOTS in the spec script can make the screenwriter appear amateurish since a SERIES OF SHOTS are determined by the director during the writing of the shooting script process. And a MONTAGE isn’t used until editing. Here, again, the director and the editor make determinations about MONTAGES, not the screenwriter. The screenwriter is utilized in both, but the difference is, the screenwriter is usually a produced screenwriter.

I hope this is of help to you.

Best Regards,

Donald L. Vasicek
Olympus Films+, LLC
The Zen of Writing

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About Donald L. Vasicek

Award-winning writer/filmmaker Donald L. Vasicek studied producing, directing and line producing at the Hollywood Film Institute under the acclaimed Dov Simens and at Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute. He studied screenwriting at The Complete Screenplay, Inc., with Sally Merlin, daughter of the famed Hollywood Merlin family of screenwriters and writers, as his mentor. Don has taught, mentored, and is a script consultant for over 300 writers, directors, producers, actors and production companies. He has also acted in NBC’s “Mystery of Flight 1501”, ABC’s Father Dowling starring Thomas Bosley, and Red-Handed Productions’ “Summer Reunion.” These activities have resulted in his involvement in over 100 movies during the past 23 years, from major studios to independent films including MGM’s $56 million “Warriors of Virtue”, Paramount Classic’s “Racing Lucifer”, American Picture’s “The Lost Heart” and “Born To Kill” starring the Charles Bronson of Korea, Bobby Kim, and his internationally-known brother, Richard, who directed, Incline Productions, Inc.’s “Born To Win”, 20th Century Fox’s “Die Hard II” starring Bruce Willis with Rennie Harlan as director, and Joel Silver as producer, Olympus Films+, LLC’s “Haunted World” with Emmy-nominated PBS Producer Alison Hill, and Olympus Films+, LLC’s “Faces”, “Oh, The Places You Can Go” and the award-winning “The Sand Creek Massacre” documentary film. Don also has written and published over 500 books, short stories and articles. His books include “How To Write, Sell, And Get Your Screenplays Produced” and “The Write Focus.” He has been a guest screenwriting and filmmaking columnist for Hollywood Lit. Sales, Moondance International Film Festival’s e-zine, Screenwriter’s Forum, Screenplace, Screenplayers.Net, Screenwriters.Net, Screenwriters Utopia, Spraka & Kinsla (Swedish), Inkwell Watch, and Ink On the Brain. Writing recognition includes Houston’s WorldFest International Film Festival, Chesterfield’s Writer’s Film Project, Writer’s Digest, The Sundance Institute, The Writer’s Network, and the Rocky Mountain Writer’s Guild, Inc. Don completed producing “The Sand Creek Massacre”, a documentary film project that includes the completed and award-winning documentary short, a book, a classroom video, Interactive Media, a study guide, and a lesson plans. The film is being distributed by Films Media Group. Don is on the board of directors of the American Indian Genocide Museum in Houston. He is the founder and owner of Olympus Films+, LLC, a global writing and filmmaking company and a screenwriting volunteer on Don’s screenwriting agent is Robin Kaver of the Robert Freedman Dramatic Agency, Inc., 1501 Broadway, Suite 2301 New York, NY 10036, 212-840-5751.

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