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Old 12-02-2004, 02:41 PM   #1
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Default Montage

I'm sure this question has been asked before and please forgive my stupidity. I am workiing on a scene where a man is getting a message on his cell phone that instructs him to go somewhere. As the message is heard (O.S.) he is driving to the location. so you have a montage of shots driving through the city, into a residential neighborhood, down a tree lined block...whatever; with the VOICE playing over it. How do my friends?
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Old 12-02-2004, 05:50 PM   #2
Deus Ex Machine
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It's (VO) not (OS).

Just write what you see playing in your head.


John listens to his messages on his cell phone as he drives.

....................MAN (VO)
Listen very carefully. If you want to see
your wife again follow these instructions.


John races along the winding canyon road.

...................MAN (VO)
Take canyon road to the reservoir.

John skids to a stop at the rusty reservoir gate.


John runs down the dirt trail.

...................MAN (VO)
Follow the trail North.
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Old 12-03-2004, 07:41 AM   #3
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Based on what "you" said you wanted to do, I might also suggest;

(NOTE:VOICE OVER during entire montage)

Bla, bla, bla.




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Old 12-03-2004, 09:53 AM   #4
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Default Montage

Thanks to all for all of your help. I read in one post where a guy said something to the effect of, "if you don't know how to do it, find a script where you have seen it before." The thing is (was) that I have seen that done many times but couldn't put my finger on an instance. Then "Goodfellas" came to mind. Especially the part where he is driving around with the helicopter chasing. That is allot of V.O. as the action described takes place. It's done allot like the first suggestion. Additionaly, I think the other suggestion works well for a single instance. Here is the link to Goodfellas if you want to check it out.

Thanks a bunch to all of you
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Old 12-05-2004, 11:14 AM   #5
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If you want to format it as above with a scene heading then what you are describing is a "SERIES OF SHOTS", not a montage. A montage uses technical effects to combine two different subjects on the screen at the same time and is generally put together in post-production from existing footage (whilst a SERIES OF SHOTS will of course need to be scheduled into the shoot).
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Old 12-05-2004, 10:38 PM   #6
TwoBrad Bradley
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Default Re: series/montage

It might just be semantics, but it's not a MONTAGE or a SERIES OF SHOTS. It's a SERIES OF SCENES.

So that you get a fair mix of replies, consider this:

Unless you can make full and complete scenes (scenes with conflict that advance the story or the character) of these "tiny bits" then cut them all.

Write the scenes then read it. Read it again but this time without the scenes. More times than not the story (that thing that is king) will not be hurt one bit.

Try it, you got nothing to lose.
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Old 12-06-2004, 07:05 AM   #7
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Default Re: series/montage

Both MONTAGE and SERIES OF SHOTS are standard industry terms used as slug lines. SERIES OF SCENES is not. In fact, that's all a screenplay is: a series of scenes. I can't think of a reason you'd ever slug something with Brad's made-up term.
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Old 12-06-2004, 09:05 AM   #8
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Default Re: series/montage

Ditto... a "series of scenes" is a new one on me too!

A SERIES OF SHOTS, although in fact, a series of scenes, is never INDICATED as such. The main question to ask yourself if faced with the prospect of utilizing a SERIES OF SHOTS or a MONTAGE is what am I trying to accomplish here?

The SERIES OF SHOTS is usually employed when seeking to move the actions of a Character "forward" quickly and cleanly, usually, with no dialogue, although you may employ narration in the form of a (V.O.). In lieu of this, I would have to suggest, to the original poster, that they think SERIES OF SHOTS rather than a MONTAGE, however, the MONTAGE will still work under "certain circumstances"!

As one poster already pointed out, the MONTAGE is a post-production editing/lab procedure that meshes (or) blends different elements to combine as a whole. You can blur/mesh/fade to, etc. between the elements of the MONTAGE but they all must lend themselves to a certain theme or subject!

For instance, your watching a movie about Jack The Ripper. one of the character's starts to relate some facts about the killer and the environment in London at the time of the murders.

Whilst this (V.O) is occurring you have different scenes of everyday life in London (that's the MONTAGE).

The SERIES OF SHOTS should move a character or other intrinsic thought or element of the script forward rapidly. You would use a SERIES OF SHOTS , for instance, in a chase scene!

It's formatted the same as a MONTAGE.

By the way, the misuse or incorrect application of a SERIES OF SHOTS vs. a MONTAGE is a very common mistake made by newer screenwriters, get it right in your spec and you will impress an "experienced" reader!

One thing for sure, as the prior poster just stated, MONTAGE and SERIES OF SHOTS are accepted and standard industry formatting terms that have specific application and that is certainly the fact.

That's the best way I can explain it! Best of luck!
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Old 12-06-2004, 06:33 PM   #9
TwoBrad Bradley
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Default Re: series/montage

Sorry, I should have known better by now than to confuse anyone with trivial formatting issues.

My point is that no matter what you call them these are simply transitional sequences designed to deliver you from Point A to Point B of the real story.

Transitional sequences are devoid of conflict, dialogue and story and have no place in a spec script. It doesn’t matter if they wind up in produced films or not. Don’t waste the time and space in a spec.

Say you have a scene where a “messy” girl receives a phone call from her boyfriend that he’ll be there in five minutes. Then the very next scene the doorbell rings, she opens the door and she is all made up. Did you really need to show a transitional scene of the girl running around like a mad man getting ready?

For those of you who like to argue about formatting standards in a business where there are no standards:

MONTAGE: A sequence of seemingly unrelated events that when combined reflect a specific theme or idea. (that’s not only unrelated to the story, but unrelated to each other)

SERIES OF SHOTS: A transitional sequence of events within a single scene (location).

SERIES OF SCENES: A transitional sequence of events spanning more than one scene (location).

The Jack the Ripper example is not really a montage. Yes, yes, I know you can call it that and I’ll know what you mean. Here’s a true montage:

(Scene: Jack spots his next victim.)

- a lion stalks a helpless doe.
- a woman screams at her child’s death bed.
- a butcher cuts up a cow
- a dead bird, blood spills from its broken neck into the dirt.


(Scene: Jack wipes the blood from his knife as he steals away.)

Honestly, do you really need a montage to get your message across?
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Old 12-07-2004, 05:30 PM   #10
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Default Maybe it's not a Law & Order spec ;)

That's a bit film-school. Montage is from the french "mount". So far as standard formatting is concerned, the events don't have to be "seemingly unrelated" or anything like that for it to be a montage, just 'cut and pasted' (often from existing footage) and somehow blended together.

Is SERIES OF SCENES a valid scene heading? I don't think a SERIES OF SHOTS has to be confined to one location.

Cole, Haag, Bueller?
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