Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. If the audience does not empathize with the main protagonist, the audience will not hope or fear for that character, and therefore, will not care about the character’s objective.
The environment is the surroundings or conditions in which a character lives or operates in. The environment can often be a source of conflict in of itself, and sometimes the environment is the antagonist of the story.
A shot, usually from a distance, that shows us where we are. A shot that suggests location. Often used at the beginning of a film to suggest where the story takes place.
The writer must draw from within his/her own experience (especially when creating characters) and rely on his/her own sense of who people are, how they tick, what they’re about, etc.
Exposition is an explanation of necessary information to the understanding of the facts from which the story action departs.
In a script, the abbreviation EXT. (EXTERIOR) notifies the reader that the following scene will be outdoors.
EXTREME CLOSEUP (E.C.U.)
Camera shot that is extremely close to a subject, used to emphasize some particular detail. Usually typed out in full in capital letters
Extremely Long Shot (XLS)
Basically self-defined. Means the camera is placed an undefined, very long distance from the subject or action. Generally, this term would be left left to the director
FADE IN / FADE OUT
Smooth, gradual transition from complete blackness to a scene (fade in); gradual transition from a scene to complete blackness (fade out). Always typed out in full in capital letters.
A fade (FADE IN:, FADE OUT., FADE TO BLACK.) is a transition effect in which the film picture lightens and appears or darkens and disappears gradually.
Fantasy characters live in strange, romantic, or magical worlds, inhabited by unusual creatures. Characters living within this mystical world have a limited number of qualities, sometimes defined through a physical exaggeration, or by magical powers, or by being supersomething: supergood, superbad, supersmart, etc.
A particular character or action is highlighted or "favored" in a shot. The focus is basically centered on someone or something in particular. Use only when necessary.
Fear is an emotion that the audience must have for the protagonist. If the audience cares about the character, they should hope the character takes the correct course of action in a difficult situation, yet fear the character will choose badly.
The first culmination (or midpoint) is the first decisive moment in which the character faces his/her highest obstacle so far. This moment usually parallels the end of the film; therefore, if the film is a tragedy, then the first culmination should be a low point for the character. If the character wins in the end, then the first culmination should be a victory for the character.
A flashback is a scene in a movie that is set in a time earlier than the main story. It can also be a sudden vivid memory of an event in the character’s past in which we don’t see the past event, but instead we see the reaction of the character as he or she remembers the event. We can tell by the character’s expression whether the event was pleasant, horrific, calming, etc.
The area of the scene (objects or action) which is closest to the camera. Usually abbreviated in lowercase letters with periods after each letter
The picture stops moving, becoming a still photograph, and holds for a period of time.
Elements of the future create hopes and fears in the characters, which encourage the audience to look to the future of the story.
A movie described as ‘high concept’ can be easily described by a succinctly stated premise or log line. A ‘high concept’ script is considered easy to sell to a wide audience because it delivers an original idea that is simple to understand.
The hook is opening scene or scenes that attempt to grab the audience’s attention. The selection of what happens and how it takes place must be visually exciting with interesting characters in an original world with a memorable situation. If the writer catches the reader with a strong hook, the probability that the reader continues turn pages is much higher.
Hope is an emotion that the audience must have for the protagonist. If the audience cares about the character, they should fear the character will take the wrong course of action in a difficult situation, yet hope the character will choose wisely.
A script that invites horizontal reading has two strikes against it right off the bat. The script is horizontal when it is text-heavy, with blocks of description that are more than four lines in length. This results in a slower, more labor intensive read.
An ‘I’ page is a script page that is all dialogue. With no action description to break up the page, the visual page looks like a capital ‘I’ with a column of white space on both the left and right of the page. This is too much white space. A script page should be a combination of both action description and dialogue.
Refers to shots taken in both an interior and an exterior location. For example, a police chase where we start inside a car and the camera moves outside the window when the character leans out to shoot a gun
Beginning the slug line, the abbreviation I/E. indicates that the scene will take place both inside and outside. I/E. scenes often take place inside and outside of moving automobiles. Clearly the car itself is outside as it moves through a particular environment, but the characters are inside the vehicle.
Imagination is the action of being creative and resourceful in forming new ideas, images, or concepts.
The inciting incident (or point of attack) is the moment - and first major plot point - at which the dramatic conflict, hidden up until now, announces itself. This moment occurs about half way through the first act.
Indirection occurs when a character sees something he cannot hear or hears something he cannot see, and acts based on this incomplete information.
A shot within a scene which calls attention to a specific piece of information, usually an inanimate object.
Beginning the slug line, the abbreviation INT. (INTERIOR) notifies the reader that the following scene will be inside.
The audience is limited to what they can see through the dimensions of a movie screen, so INTO FRAME suggests something or someone coming into the picture while the camera stays put.
The audience is limited to what they can see through the dimensions of a movie screen, so INTO VIEW suggests something or someone coming into the picture while the camera stays put.
A scene of investigation is a scene in which the character gathers investigation.
Irony is a device of making a character use words, pursue actions, or follow intentions which mean one thing to him or her yet something entirely different to the audience and/or other characters.
Tight focus on an object or person.
An exaggerated acceleration of natural action achieved by removing from a scene footage that provides continuity of action, camera position or time. For example, a shot of man starting frame left and walking right who, in the blink of an eye, is next seen almost at frame right would be a jumpcut. He appears to have "jumped" to the right edge.
JUMP CUT TO:
A jump cut is an abrupt transition in which two sequential shots of the same subject in the same scene in real time are taken from camera positions that vary only slightly. This type of edit causes the subject of the shots to appear to “jump” position in a discontinuous way.