Script and Scene Breakdown Definitions

by Peter D. Marshall

Here are four basic kinds of scenes contained in a script.

1. Key Scenes (Could be dialogue or action scenes)
a. these scenes set the mood of the story and they require more time to shoot than “regular scenes.” EXAMPLE: most scenes in Act One that introduce characters; scenes that contain major story points.

2. Dialogue Scenes (talking, talking and more talking!)
a. these scenes usually move quicker and take less time to shoot than action scenes.

3. Action Scenes/Special FX Scenes/Visual FX Scenes (action/stunts/special effects/visual effects components)
a. these scenes require more shooting time than dialogue scenes.

4. Act Break Scenes (only in TV)
a. these scenes are important because they are used to keep the audience “hooked” into coming back after the commercial break.

Remember – to determine how long it will take to shoot a scene, it’s not the page count per day that matters, it’s the camera set ups per day that matter. EXAMPLE: a 4 page dialogue scene should be easier and faster to shoot than a 2 page action scene.

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