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Old 06-10-2008, 11:08 PM   #1
odetotud
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Default How to Write Flashes of Images in a Screenplay

Hey if anyone can help me on a formatting question.

I want to show either flashes of information or short "visions" of action and am not sure how to do it.

Main protag is watching TV and suddenly sees visions of-

Int. Hallway - Killers POV

Pulling out a knife.

Lunging at the victim.

and so on.

Also if I want short bit of action can I use this and add dialogue.

Is there a better way to write it and keep it easy to follow?

Thanks,

odetotud
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Old 06-11-2008, 10:46 AM   #2
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Default Re: How to Write Flashes of Images in a Screenplay

Maybe find the script to Blink and see how they did it? Was that the movie about the person who was blind but could sort of remember a crime?
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Old 06-11-2008, 11:16 AM   #3
Laura Reyna
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Default Re: How to Write Flashes of Images in a Screenplay

Here's how David Goyer does it in his recent script THE UNBORN--

INT. BELL HOME - CASEY’S BEDROOM - NIGHT

Casey climbs in bed, pulling the covers up. She stares at
the ceiling, glances over at the photograph of her mother.

A MEMORY FLASH

CASEY (8) in the doorway of a hospital room with her father. JANET BELL (30s) sits at a table in a hospital gown, doped upon drugs, staring into the void.

BACK TO CASEY IN THE PRESENT


...I remember it b/c it's nice & clean. I'm probably going to use it in the future.

You can also do someting like--

INT. SIMON'S APT - BATHROOM - NIGHT

Simon gets out of the shower. Something in the morror catches his eye--

A FLASH OF IMAGES--

-- A man with a bloody knife.

-- A car's headlights.

-- Jane's anguished face. Her mouth covered with duct tape.

-- Simon's own face covered in blood.



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Old 06-11-2008, 12:15 PM   #4
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Default Re: How to Write Flashes of Images in a Screenplay

A slight improvement, I think, is to do what was done above but make complete scenes of each flashback. Why? Because ultimately the script is supposed to identify everything as exterior or interior, and day or night, for planning how to shoot the film.

INT. BELL HOME - CASEY’S BEDROOM - NIGHT

Casey climbs in bed, pulling the covers up. She stares at
the ceiling, glances over at the photograph of her mother.

A MEMORY FLASH

INT. HOSPITAL ROOM -- NIGHT (FLASHBACK)

CASEY (8) in the doorway of a hospital room with her father. JANET BELL (30s) sits at a table in a hospital gown, doped upon drugs, staring into the void.

INT. BELL HOME - CASEY'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

Casey sits upright in bed, panting with fright. Etc.
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Old 06-11-2008, 01:59 PM   #5
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Default Re: How to Write Flashes of Images in a Screenplay

Thanks for the replies. Those are great!
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Old 06-11-2008, 05:35 PM   #6
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Default Re: How to Write Flashes of Images in a Screenplay

Cut To Flashback



Back To Scene
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Old 06-12-2008, 06:55 AM   #7
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Default Re: How to Write Flashes of Images in a Screenplay

I am not looking to write an actual flashback, but my protag would be seeing flashes of imagery that he doesn't actually remember.
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Old 06-12-2008, 08:29 AM   #8
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Default Re: How to Write Flashes of Images in a Screenplay

I am not looking to write an actual flashback, but my protag would be seeing flashes of imagery that he doesn't actually remember.

If I was to write that, I would simply say:

(let's say your character's name is Pete)

Images flash in Pete's mind: Pulling out a knife. Lunging at the victim, and so on... (whatever the image).

As long as it reads well, you can do it. I'm not sure that there is a specific format. I could be wrong. At least i would do that. Hope that helps some.

the best way to know. Give that part of the script to a friend, don't tell them about the flashes of memory bit. If they get it, a reader would most definitely see where you're going.

I also think most scripts get a rewrite, so it doesn't have to be spot-on perfect. It just has to make sense.

wishing you waves and waves of success

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Old 06-12-2008, 12:28 PM   #9
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Default Re: How to Write Flashes of Images in a Screenplay

Sometimes we over think these things. We assume there's some fancy, complicated or "right" way to put something in a screenplay.

The best way to do it is to just come right out and say what's happening on screen, SIMPLY AND PLAINLY.

Here's another variation--



EXT. WHEAT FIELD - NIGHT

Simon runs through a large, open field. He hears a strange sound and stops. Listens. It sounds like a high-pitched WHISTLE.

The sound gets louder and louder...

Simon doubles over in pain.

A FLASH OF IMAGES

A man with a bloody knife... A car's headlights... Jane's anguished face, her mouth covered with duct tape... Simon's own face covered in blood...

Just as suddenly, the whistling STOPS. Simon recovers.

He looks around to see if anyone is watching. He's alone in the vast field.

He continues on to the farmhouse.


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Old 06-15-2008, 12:08 PM   #10
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Default Re: How to Write Flashes of Images in a Screenplay

Quote:
I am not looking to write an actual flashback, but my protag would be seeing flashes of imagery that he doesn't actually remember.
I see. Understood.

But as someone said, it is possible to overthink all of this. Remember that you are not writing a story that someone else is going to put into screenplay form. That is what you are supposed to do!

Somebody has to decide where these "flashes" are taking place. Location? Interior? Exterior? Day? Night? That is why I suggested writing them as small scenes.

I like Writer1's suggestion to use CUT TO FLASHBACK.

An alternative, which I saw in a script the other day, is FLASH BACK TO:

Just use FLASH BACK TO: as a transition element, placed over to the right side of the page, just like a CUT TO: transition.
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