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Chapter 14

A Series of Shots

A SERIES OF SHOTS is similar to a Montage, but it usually takes place in one location and concerns the same action. Think of the movie Earthquake...


A) Store windows start to rattle and shake.

B) Hanging signs swing back and forth.

C) Bricks and shards of glass begin to fall onto the sidewalks.

D) People run for cover.

A SERIES OF SHOTS is formatted as a SHOT. Just like a Montage, the shot series are action paragraphs and may also be numbered 1) 2) 3).


Some writers will incorporate a series of shots into a script without noting it as such. This generally contributes to a smoother flow of the action. The action lines might be short, descriptive sentences on separate lines.

The Piazza de Palma is packed with Saturday shoppers.

A LOUD SHOT rings out.

Pigeons take flight, WINGS FLUTTERING EN MASSE.

Heads turn in the direction of ANOTHER GUNSHOT.

A frightened child drops his ice cream cone and CRIES.

A woman SCREAMS.

Another style for writing the sequence above is:


is teaming with Saturday shoppers.


rings out. Pigeons take flight. Heads turn in the direction of ANOTHER GUNSHOT.


drops his ice cream cone and CRIES. A SCREAM is heard.

Writing Tip:
This particular style of writing takes more space on the page, but it also is a faster read. Why? Look at all the white space in the second example... the reader's eyes can read that passage very quickly.

Another style of writing has to do with EMPHASIS in the action element. Too often, readers will skim a script, particularly if the action paragraphs are overly long. Here's an option of how to get the necessary points across. Italics, bold or underlining are not used for emphasis.

Terry DROPS to the floor as a BEAM OF LIGHT sweeps across the room. He hears the
FLOOR SQUEAK in the outer office. Terry HOLDS HIS BREATH as a big, bulky

Short Lines/Poetry/Lyrics

Once in a while, it's necessary to write dialogue with a series of SHORT LINES. One example might be if your character is reciting poetry, or singing a song.

                        Roses are red,
                        Violets are blue,
                        I'm writing a script,
                        How 'bout you?

Song lyrics are typically written in all caps.

                        ROW, ROW, ROW YOUR BOAT
                        GENTLY DOWN THE STREAM
                        MERRILY, MERRILY, MERRILY, MERRILY
                        LIFE IS BUT A DREAM.