How to write a daydream?

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  • #16
    I'm just reacting to the OP - if it's supposed to be a surprise to the audience, it's supposed to be a surprise to the reader. If a dream sequence is stylized and the tone is different than reality - like The Sopranos used to do - then you clearly call out it's a dream.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Satriales View Post

      There are certainly differences but I’d never not bury the lede unless the director or producer was like “whatever; just explicitly call it out.” I’m not sure what that reason would be. But if I had a For Your Consideration script out there I would definitely want it to be as close to the viewing experience as possible.
      Agreed.

      I guess my point is that in production, I'm guessing rewrites have to happen fast (time is money) and if you happen to be a writer on set rewriting, (ICBW) the faster you write the better for production. In that in that environment, getting the point across to execute the shot would be ideal and essential. At that point, time is against you.

      Look, I don't have physical experience with production, but it seems possible that, as an example, a filmmaker may opt to use different lighting, sounds, background music, color, makeup or tonal qualities for scenes that are daydreams versus reality that are shot in the same location.

      Some differences can be done in post, maybe many of them, but if that's the case, somewhere in the draft, it has to identify those specific scenes. Some differences might be done when filming-- for example if a filmmaker wanted the lighting/makeup to be different between reality and fantasy scenes in the same location that are viewed in sequence of each other. The production draft would want to identify those scenes to efficiently schedule shooting, because it would be insane to relight scenes back and forth on the day you're filming those scenes in that location.

      You'd want to light once, film all those scenes in that location, then reset the lighting for the "fantasy" scenes that all have the same lighting. So, I could see why a filmmaker might have the information "fantasy scene" specified in the slugline so the execution is nailed.

      So, I'm just saying there might be times when you would call it out in the slugline for production that are completely unnecessary in a spec/first draft.

      I'm not speaking specifically to this OP's example. I've kinda expanded the discussion for consideration. Apologies. I'm not saying "right" or "wrong" here, simply suggesting there might be times when we might need to consider the practical nature of filming-- but then you're right... that would come from the director. I think the more a writer understands about production the better writer they could become.

      Apologies for straying... Oops, totally missed Jeff's post.
      "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Darthclaw13 View Post
        Hi all,
        I am wondering the best way to write a daydream sequence.

        I am a bit confused on how to structure a scene like that so any examples in films would help so I can look them up.

        Any help is appreciated.

        As always, I hope you are reaching your writing dreams.
        If you can find a good script online for The 12th Man (2017), there is a scene that takes place in a cabin where the isolated main character has not one, not two, but three illusory dreams in a row (your "daydream sequence"). Each one fools the viewer.

        I looked for the script online but couldn't find one, probably because the movie's dialogue is spoken in Norwegian, German, and some Swedish. You can watch the movie on Hulu, but it expires soon. Subtitles are provided. I thought it was a moving and excellent true story and movie.
        Last edited by Clint Hill; 10-23-2021, 10:08 PM.
        "If you're going to have a story, have a big story, or none at all." — Joseph Campbell

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Clint Hill View Post

          You can watch the movie on Hulu, but it expires soon. Subtitles are provided. I thought it was a moving and excellent true story and movie.
          It's also on Netflix until Oct. 30th.

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          • #20
            Another excellent film that uses the imaginary scene (your dream sequence) that then reverts to reality is Solace (2015), starring Anthony Hopkins, Colin Farrell, and Abbie Cornish. It's available to watch on Hulu.

            In this screen story, two psychics duke it out—one works with the FBI, while the other performs mercy killings. There are multiple scenes of how each victim ends up murdered as the FBI psychic touches personal items or the body and re-lives the victim's last moments. The film treats these as dream sequences.

            There are at least three scenes where the FBI psychic imagines how a confrontation with the other psychic occurs. Then the scene reverts to reality, at which time the psychic attempts to make the outcome different. It's a good story. Check it out.
            "If you're going to have a story, have a big story, or none at all." — Joseph Campbell

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