The camera dramatizes the process of viewing the action and bringing it on screen, allowing our eyes to see only what and how the ‘camera narrator’ shows it to us.
A card is text printed on the screen - either over black or superimposed over an image - that is needed to indicate location, time, date, or era. CARD: is written in all CAPS followed by the colon and typed at the same left margin as for character names. Underneath CARD:, the location, era, and date is written at character dialogue margins set off by quotes.
A character arc is the status of the character as it unfolds throughout the story. A character begins the story with a certain viewpoint, and after experiencing the events of the story, that point of view changes.
Attitudes convey opinions, a particular slant, belief, perspective, sentiment, or world view.
Character change is essential to your main character’s arc. If after going through the main tension and reaching the resolution, the character does not change in some way - not always for the better - then the experience is futile for the audience.
Most characters should never be predictable nor stereotypical. Instead, the character’s core personality helps to define who he/she/it is, which should be an interested and flawed being.
Screenplays give a few lines of powerful character details when a new character is introduced, so the description will grab the attention of the reader as well as potential actors.
Developing a character is essential to bringing that character to life on the screen. The writer must dig deep to unearth background history, personality, psychology, and current goals. There is no secret recipe as to how to develop a character, but starting with a physical description, followed by exploring the character through specific exercises, and learning more about the character by exploring the character questionnaire is a solid way to start.
Character identification occurs when the audience is linked to the character on an emotional level. Sometimes this occurs when a character is going through an action that someone in the audience has gone through. For example, the dad character may be changing his baby’s diaper for the first time and his son pees on him. Any father in the audience who has gone through that exact experience will identify. A more common form of identification, however occurs when the audience - regardless of whether they have experienced a particular event or not - can feel sympathy or empathy for the character in any given situation.
Paradoxes are essential to creating fascinating characters who constantly surprise us, changing our preconceived notions about them. Unique and memorable characters are complicated, illogical at times, and often unpredictable.
To be consistent with human behavior, the writer must understand the psychology of a character: what motivates him, why does he behave a certain way, what are his subconscious intentions?
Most characters don’t live on an island alone. Part of who they are and how they will change is based on the relationships they have and have had. The chemistry between characters in each relationship is a story in of itself, and the screenwriter should maximize this chemistry by choosing qualities that bring characters together as well as create conflict between them.
Characterization is applied by describing of superficial traits and features in order to help depict character: language, manner of speaking, dress, gesture, physical condition, mannerisms, etc.
The climax, also called the main culmination, is the ultimate decisive moment at the end of Act Two, in which the character has done everything he or she could do to reach the desired objective, and now he or she faces his/her highest obstacle and the end of the main tension. This moment usually works in opposition from the midpoint and end. If the character wins in the end - and therefore at the midpoint/first culmination as well - then this should be his lowest moment.
Camera shot that includes only the head and shoulders of a character. Always typed in capital letters.
Camera shot that closely emphasizes (isolates) a detail in a person, animal or object. Always typed in capital letters and is usually abbreviated.
Collective unconscious is a term of analytical psychology, coined by Carl Jung. It is a part of the unconscious mind, expressed in humanity and all life forms and describes how the structure of the psyche autonomously organizes experience.
The concept of your script is the idea or story premise. And every story is about an interesting character, who wants something badly, and is having trouble getting it.
Conflict occurs when a character finds him/herself in a predicament, facing obstacles - physical, psychological, social - that requires him/her to take decisive action.
Context is what influence character: culture, historical period, location, occupation, etc.
Sometimes, instead of DAY, NIGHT, DUSK, or DAWN at the end of a SLUG LINE, you’ll see CONTINUOUS. In these instances, action moves from one location to another without an interruptions in time.
Contrast is a great way to define character duos, especially in “buddy pictures”. Opposites do attract, and by contrasting two characters that seemingly have nothing in common, but with further investigation, it is clear they do share common ground, the strongest character dynamics can be achieved. For example, there may be clear polarity when examining each character’s external features (age, ethnicity, gender, economics, commitments, etc.), but their internal hopes and fears or their objective are the same.
Costume refers to a set of clothes in a style typical of a particular location or historical period. In scripts that take place in present day, costume is not an important element to describe; however, if the world itself is quite different from the present day world we know, costume become an important part of a character’s introduction. Also, if a character changes his or her costume for a specific reason, it is important to illustrate that change. It is a mistake, however, to describe the character’s costume every single time we see him or her, especially if there is no significance to the costume change.
This is a term used for superimposed titles or text intended to move across on screen.
This is like a "Fade to black then Fade to next scene." In other words, as one scene fades out, a moment of black interrupts before the next scene fades in.
CUT / CUT TO
Instantaneous transition (change) from a scene (or a shot, or another person) to another. Always typed in capital letters.
Delay is a narrative and dramatic device used to strengthen the established tension. The viewer anticipates that certain events will happen, and the tension - hope and fear - grows from that anticipation and creates audience impatience, which in turn fuels the tension. By delaying the arrival of an expected character or event, the solution of a mystery or an answer to an unanswered question, a more powerful impact is achieved on the audience.
At the end of the second act, and after the protagonist has done everything in his/her power to overcome his/her supreme ordeal, and the main culmination is reached and the battle is done - either a victory or a defeat - the descending action starts the third act with a new tension.
The details are the individual features, props, or items in a scene. These details enrich the location and environment of the scene; however, describing too many details is a mistake. It is wise to describe a location in a general and succinct way, while pointing out a few important details that will be used to help tell the story in some way: advertising, planting & payoff, preparation & aftermath, etc.
Directing on the page
Directing on the page occurs (and is something the screenwriter wants to avoid) when the writer provides too many camera positions such as ZOOM IN, PAN LEFT, ANGLE ON, CRANE SHOT, CLOSE UP, PUSH IN, TRACKING SHOT, etc. When the writer is guilty of this, there is the potential to alienate potential directors by not allowing the director to imagine how he or she would shoot the scene(s). If it is important for the screenwriter make the audience aware of a particular prop or object, then the writer needs to find a way to highlight that object without using camera shots.
A dissolve is a transition between scenes in which two images gradually overlap each other.
DOLLY IN / DOLLY OUT
Camera movement towards or away from a subject, involving physical movement of the camera. Always typed in capital letters.
Dramatic irony occurs when the audience learns something that at least one person on screen does not know.
Dramaturgy is the theory and practice of dramatic composition.