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.

6 Comments:

  • Interesting subject. Couple of comments. First, in Final Draft, if you choose Edit Scene Number under the Production Menu, you can change a scene number to whatever you like, even if Auto Scene numbering was already applied. Just be careful, if you ever renumber scenes from scratch, it will keep the scene you entered and it might not be the right number anymore.

    Next, if you do want to use A or B in scene numbers, put the letter before the number, not after, such a A35. On set, they'll call this Apple 35. This is because when the film is shot, each shot in the same scene will be letter. So the first shot in 35 will be 35, then 35a, 35b, etc. for all the shots of that scene. If the scene is numbered 35A, you start to get 35Aa, 35Ab, very confusing for the editor.

    Also, from a flashback point of view, there is really no need to do A and B. You can just number them 35, 36, 37, the director and first AD will know that 35 and 37 are continuations of the same content and shoot appropriately.

    Lastly, if this is a selling script and not a shooting script, I agree with the original comment just leave the scene numbers off altogether. No one cares about scene numbers until it's going into production.

    Kenny Golde
    www.KennyGolde.com
    www.writingscreenplays.net

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:44 PM  

  • 你怎麼能經過一片海,而忘記它的藍?.........................

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:22 AM  

  • Unable to give you a heart. so have a reply to push up your post. ........................................

    By Blogger 清楚, at 8:22 PM  

  • By Blogger 難過, at 8:40 AM  

  • Why did you say "her" for script supervisor??

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:40 PM  

  • Hi,

    When I set scene numbers, they put numbers where there are no scenes, also next to blank sections, and one or two next to dialogue or action. I have no idea how to set numbers so they start from the FIRST scene heading (as opposed to the top of the page).

    Any help is much appreciated asap!

    Thanks,

    Scott Koban

    By Blogger Scott Koban, at 12:52 AM  

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