How to write a screenplay / The basics – nycmidnight

Stage titles

Each scene should have a scene title that describes to the reader where and when it takes place. Whenever the location or time of day changes, a new stage heading is required. The titles of the scenes are written in CAPITAL LETTERS. It includes three major elements:

Indoor or outdoor (Written as INT. or EXT.)

Defines whether the location is indoors or outdoors. For example, a restaurant would be considered an indoor location (INT.) And a public park would be considered an outdoor location (EXT.).

Site (Written as MAIN SETTING / SPECIFIC SETTING)

Defines the location where the scene takes place. It should define a main frame which is the main location such as a building, apartment, house, etc. . of a house (for example). Here are some examples of how the location is written:

INT. COFFIN
INT. POLICE STATION / DETENTION CELL
INT. FRANK’S HOUSE / LIVING ROOM
INT. FRANK’S HOUSE / BEDROOM
EXT. PUBLIC PARK

Time of the day (Written as Day or night)

The last item to include in a scene header is the time of day. You do not need to enter the exact time, whether it is DAY or NIGHT. This helps during the pre-production process, as filmmakers need to know if they will be dependent on natural light or if they will have specific lighting needs.

So, using all of the above, here are some examples of full stage titles:

INT. COFFIN – NIGHT
INT. POLICE OFFICE / DETENTION CELL – NIGHT
INT. FRANK’S HOUSE / LIVING ROOM – DAY
INT. FRANK’S HOUSE / BEDROOM – NIGHT
EXT. PUBLIC PARK – DAY

Scene titles are left justified 1.5 “from the left margin and require double space before starting a new line of action. Here is an example of a scene title at the start of a scenario:


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