View Full Version : Trimmed Sluglines
02-17-2001, 12:15 PM
If the abundance of my screenplay takes place in one place (such as skyscraper, Pyramid, Spacestation etc) Do I really need full sluglines or can I just say BASEMENT, HALLWAY, INFIRMERY, VAULT? Keep in mind they would be used for every set change after the first establishing shot or scene.
02-17-2001, 12:25 PM
I've seen several modern screenplays with the abbreviated "slug line" when the action is continuous. In fact there is a recent thread with some examples. Something like:
John rushes out the bedroom door into the
where he runs into Joan....
02-17-2001, 12:28 PM
Yes, you can do that. I assume what you want to do is something like this:
EXT. JOE'S HOUSE - DAY
Joe unlocks the door and enters.
INT. ENTRY HALL - CONTINUOUS
Joe picks up his mail and heads for the kitchen.
INT. KITCHEN - DAY
Joe sits, staring at a letter. Suddenly he crumples it up and throws it across the room.
02-17-2001, 01:27 PM
You can dfefinitely go with the abbreviated sluglines. In my opinion, scripts read better like that. I'd do it more like this:
EXT. JOE'S HOUSE - DAY
Joe unlocks the door and enters
He picks up his mail and heads for
Joe sits, staring at a letter.
02-17-2001, 01:31 PM
Yes, accept Joe's House makes up the entire script and theres a lot more rooms than just BATHROOM, BEDROOM, HALLWAY etc etc.
Heres a hypothetical rundown off the top of my head:
INT. SPACE STATION - DOCKING BAY
DOCKING BAY OPERATIONS
And so on. If theres this many does that change anything? wouldn't it look a little funny if close to the entire screenplay used partial sluglines?
02-17-2001, 01:40 PM
I think it would look strange if the entire script was that way, largely because most stories don't take place in one day and thus require the DAY or NIGHT sluglines to demonstrate the passing of time (minutes, hours, days, etc.).
02-17-2001, 06:06 PM
well there is no day or night in space, really.
perhaps your sluglines could read:
INT. DOCKING BAY (SPACE STATION) -- 1532hrs
The TRANSPORT hovers shakily over the landing circle, its CRIPPLED ENGINES misfiring.
The CREW watch nervously, biting their fingernails as -
INT. COCKPIT (TRANSPORT)
The PILOT white-knuckles the stubborn flight yoke...
another thing you could experiment with doing, is to draw out a rough blueprint of your space station. i'm assuming this is a large space station, and not a ratty "studio apt" MIR (but i could be wrong). if it's large, SECTION off each area, and divide them into parts. that way, you can use a slugline when you begin each scene in a certain section, and all the action that takes place in that section, can take place under abbreviated sluglines.
02-17-2001, 07:51 PM
...it's acceptable. If the new scene takes place after a break in the unity of the continuing scene, then it needs a complete header, otherwise you might commit a cardinal sin by confusing the reader.
02-17-2001, 09:29 PM
I wrote a screenplay that featured communication between a character talking on a two-way radio in a basement and other characters in their cars. Initially I showed the sluglines...then I changed it without the sluglines...since I felt it would speed up the read. I did this only when there was a long series of conversations between the cars and the basement character.
A producer/story development asked why I had left it out? I explained the above to him...and he said put them back in...he said it looked more professional.
I changed it the way he asked and now the screenplay is under serious scrutiny by this production company.
I have seen it done both ways...I guess it depends on whose hands are turning the pages...
Personally I liked it without the redundant sluglines for the montage of back and forth scenes...yet as writers we are here to please the powers that be...in this case the ones with the fat checkbook. I'll be an artist later once I make a big ol' sale...I mean if I were an established writer in the biz I might get away with it.
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