Final Draft Tips

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Scene Numbers

QUESTION

Is it possible to adjust the scene numbers that Final Draft creates on the script? Example, it split one scene into two, and I'd like it to go back into being 1 longer scene. Another different scenario: I have a scene (let's say, sc 35A) that is 'interrupted' by a flashback (we'll call it sc. 36), and I'd like to continue that first scene after the flash back (call it 35B). Is this possible to modify, or am I stuck with the numbers Final Draft generates? A broader question for this, is it confusing to have scene numbers that aren't sequential? The script is non-linear so it becomes tricky.

ANSWER

I'd have to experiment with FD to check. I've never needed to do it. Before we go there, may I ask you a question?

Are you the director for this screenplay? Directors will place the scene numbers the way they like them. If the writer adds them, the first thing the director will do is remove them.

In case you are the director, let's discuss lettered scene numbers. If you have scenes 35 and 36, then a scene inserted during photography would become 35A. Calling a scene 35A before the production rundown is locked seems odd. Adding a scene during shooting would then become 35A1. Unless you're already in production, you're making it too complicated.

Is this is a spec script? If so, I would urge you to exercise restraint with flashbacks and fantasy sequences. Studio readers have a quota. They will get lost as they rush through a complicated script.

FOLLOW-UP

Our concern is, how do we make it obvious in the shooting script that one scene is the continuation of another?

ANSWER

It's typical to shoot out of order. The director or the AD will create a production shooting schedule that re-orders the related scenes together so that you don't have to break down between scenes. It will be obvious that it's a continuation when scenes in the same location shoot back-to-back.

It's the script supervisor's job to track continuity. You may need to go over the script and rundown with her to make sure it's clear.

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