دایره المعارف سینما

در این صفحه میتوانید معانی اصطلاحات مورد نیاز در فیلمنامه نویسی را پیدا کنید. کافیست کلمه یا عبارت مورد نظر حود را در قسمت زیر وارد کنید. این دایره المعارف در دو زبان فارسی و انگلیسی در دسترس شماست .

?
شماره عنوان توضیحات
Action

Action, refers to the basic unit of screenwriting: descriptions of what happens in the scene, including physical and psychological movement. When combined with a character’s dialogue, action helps to tell the story and are what comprise the bulk of the screenplay, conveying character, sound, and visual details about the world to the audience (or reader)….

Aftermath

Aftermath, is an event that is a direct result or consequence from a prior event, decision or action. Usually, the aftermath has a negative influence on the characters; an unexpected obstacle that must be overcome. Occasionally, aftermath is the implied conclusion of the film—what things will be like for the characters when the story is…

Allegorical Characters

Allegorical Characters, are characters who symbolically represent something more than just their own individuality, allowing the audience to observe the character’s as a figurative example of whatever the character is meant to The Script Lab’s Encyclopedia of Screenwriting 2 represent. Because they are meant to embody an external model (either literal or abstract), an allegorical…

Antagonist

The Antagonist is a character (or characters) in direct opposition to the protagonist and acts as the hero’s adversary; the physical representation of the heroes dilemma. It’s always important to remember that in the antagonist’s mind, he or she isn’t the antagonist of the film, but rather, they see themselves as the The Script Lab’s…

Anthropomorphism

Anthropomorphism, is ascribing human characteristics to non-human things, such as animals, objects, god or gods, etc. Anthropomorphic characters still adhere to character, arcs, attitudes and cores, and may or may not include allegory. EXAMPLES: Anthropomorphism is a popular form of allegory; superimposing human emotions and tendencies onto things that are not human in order to…

Archetypal Characters

Archetypal Characters, like some allegorical characters, are characters made to embody a specific idea. However, unlike allegorical characters who are meant to represent either abstract ideas or individual people, archetypal characters tend to be symbolic of specific human emotions, virtues, or flaws. This reduces the essence of the character to a single common-denominator; a go-to…

Audience

The Audience is anyone who reads the screenplay or watches the film. Every decision relating to the work is made with the audience’s total enjoyment of the finished product in mind. EXAMPLE: The relationship that exists between the film itself and its audience is the reason why the film industry and filmmaking exist at all….

Audience Awareness

Audience Awareness, is the degree to which the film informs the audience concerning specific details that surround the characters’ journey through the film; whether it be information the audience knows that the characters do not, vice-versa, or taking care to keep the audience as informed and informed at the same time as the characters. The…

Audience Expectations

Audience Expectations, are the audience’s preconceived idea of how events will transpire based off the information telegraphed to them from the story and its characters. The filmmaker and/or screenwriter work in leading the audience to reach certain conclusions that will either oppose or conform to how the events will ultimately unfold. EXAMPLES: The purpose of…

b.g.

b.g. (an abbreviation for ‘background’), is ascribed to any action or dialogue that takes place in the rear-plane of the foreground image and is traditionally written in lower-case initials. Its intention is to discriminate activities as they appear visually on the screen between what is in the forefront and what is happening in the background….

Backstory

Backstory, is the historical context to explain a character’s past, prior events that led up to the story, and/or to provide exposition for the audience’s benefit. When properly applied, as subtly and unobtrusively as possible, backstory can increase The Script Lab’s Encyclopedia of Screenwriting 9 BACKSTORY (CONT’D) an audience’s appreciation for the story’s events and…

Beat

Beat, is the writer’s way of illustrating to the reader when a character takes a brief pause between delivering parts of dialogue. The (beat) is written as a parenthetical, separates different segments of a character’s dialogue, and is written in lower-case. EXAMPLES: In the film Adaptation (2002), written by Charlie Kaufman and directed by Spike…

Block Page

Block page, refers to a page in a script that is predominantly action-heavy, giving the page a dense, bulky appearance with very little white space remaining. This makes the page ‘word-heavy’; which, in turn, makes the page take a lot longer to read—disrupting the flow of the movie for the reader’s mind. In principle, screenwriters…

Camera Narrator

Camera Narrator, refers to the elements of direction specifically controlled by the camera scope and movement. The camera is the audience’s ‘eye’ into a story. However, the audience doesn’t control what that ‘eye’ looks at—that’s the province of the director. The camera is directing your vision at all times, dramatizing the story through the motion…

CARD:

CARD:, is used when the writer needs to give a written cue on-screen to the audience in order to inform them of a specific location, time, date, or era of the narrative. A card is text printed on the screen – either over black or superimposed over an image – that is needed to indicate…

Character

Character, is any individual in a script/movie who demonstrates personality by their innate behavior and may or may not have spoken dialogue to articulate their personality. Characters in film range from minute to massive. Characters are sometimes a portrayal of an individual who the audience can easily and readily identify with, or an individual who…

Character Arc

Character arc, is the overall journey any individual character goes through as the events of the story progress, allowing the audience the benefit of watching a character’s progress (or retrogression) unfold. In order to do this, when a character is introduced their characteristics are made known to the audience so that, by the end of…

Character Attitudes

Character Attitudes, are related to character arc in that, when we are introduced to a character, we are also being introduced to their general attitude: their opinions, beliefs, perspectives and overall philosophy about the world, before the The Script Lab’s Encyclopedia of Screenwriting 14 character is caught up in the story that will test their…

Character Change

Character Change, refers to a specific instance within the character arc when the character’s previous attitude and/or core is replaced with a new set of values or opinions. This internal metamorphosis is often provoked by an external event that forces the character to reevaluate their own essence. Oftentimes, it’s this character change that is the…

Character Core

Character Core, refers to the character’s rudimentary essence. Where the character attitude is a behavior that the character has a choice in, the character core is the character’s unavoidable nature; something that refers to what the character is more than who the character is. Establishing the character’s core helps define the character in concrete terms…

Character Description

Character Description, is the audiences introduction to the character and is articulated by the physical, visual and behavioral attributes the writer ascribes to any given character. The intention is to briefly summarize the character’s core by describing their physical appearance in a way that’s immediately compelling to the reader. The writer does this by blending…

Character Development

Character Development, is the writer’s work in the literal creation of the written character; including (but not limited to) investigation into a character’s back story, intimate understanding of a character’s personality, the character’s psychology and what the character needs. Essentially; character development describes the writer’s relationship with the character and the process of making the…

Character Identification

Character Identification, occurs when the audience personally relates to the trials experienced by the protagonist, thus causing the audience to emotionally connect with the protagonist him/herself. This is achieved through the writer’s hard work at character development, ensuring that the character and the character arc is believable and has a deep emotional resonance with the…

Character Paradox

Character Paradox, describes a character who undergoes some detrimental catharsis that is somehow contradictory but unavoidably true, and the character must either justify or overcome this logical conflict. Adding character paradox to your script can greatly increase the audience’s interest in your character by making him or her multi-faceted, conflicted, complex and unpredictable. The right…

Character Psychology

Character Psychology, alludes to the character’s mental state throughout the course of the film. Whether or not specific details are overtly stated in the script’s dialogue, the writer must understand their character’s perception of past and current events, where their focus lies as individuals, their emotional constitution, what motivates their behaviors, and how all of…

Character Relationships

Character Relationships, refers to the writer’s work in establishing interpersonal connections between two characters. These collected exchanges add up to two or more characters having a shared history with one another, resulting in the cultivation of a personal relationship between the two– a connection that can either productive or destructive to their lives, depending on…

Characterization

Characterization, is the writer’s work to describe the superficial details about a character to help inform the audience about who the character is; the ‘person’ the character is to the outside world. Typically, the characterization is the firstlayer observations we can make about any given character; obvious and selfevident. EXAMPLES: One of the first things…

Climax

Climax (also known as the Main Culmination), refers to the point of highest dramatic tension for the protagonist and his or her effort to attain their goal or objective. Usually the climax culminates at the end of the second act and is used as a catalyst to propel a new goal or objective for the…

Collective Unconscious

Collective Unconscious, is a psychological term, coined by psychiatrist Carl Jung, describing the notion that an entire species of living organisms can communally possess latent memories underneath the conscious, separate awareness of individuals. It explains that our existence at this point in human history is informed by subconscious memories passed down to us from previous…

Concept

Concept, refers to the idea a writer has that will be used to apply the story the writer wishes to tell; the concept acting as the means by which the story will be applied. This allows the writer to take a well-known story and ‘reinvent’ it in a different light or given a different context….

Conflict

Conflict, is the physical and/or emotional struggle of the protagonist against either internal or external obstacles. Without conflict, there is no drama, and without drama there is no story; ergo, conflict is an absolute necessity for any film. The end result of conflict in a story is to force the protagonist to take decisive action…

Context

Context, refers to the surrounding world of the story and how it influences the characters actions and choices. If the character is realistic and believable, they will behave differently in varying situations, locations, and people depending on what, where and who they are. Context will dictate any individual character’s approach to any situation. EXAMPLES: You…

CONTINUOUS

CONTINUOUS, is a script note that explains the uninterrupted relationship between two slug lines for the reader. If the action that takes place over the course of multiple slug lines is without cessation, in lieu of writing “DAY”, “NIGHT”, etc., the writer will instead opt for “CONTINUOUS” (all capital letters), illustrating that it takes place…

Contrast

Contrast, is the comparison drawn between two or more characters that illustrates not only what makes any given individual different from another, but also underlines intrinsic similarities as well. It’s always compelling for an audience to be shown two contrasting characters who seem totally at odds with one another, but who are revealed to be…

Costume

Costume, alludes to specific articles of clothing worn by a character in a screenplay only when and if it is important for the reader to know what any given character is wearing. However, if it is written in the script, it must be integral to the story or the character in some pivotal way. EXAMPLES:…

Culmination

Culmination, combines elements of climax and character arc into a single phrase. Similarly to climax, culmination alludes to the point of highest dramatic tension within a film. Like character arc, it describes the progression, or degradation, of the protagonist over the course of the film. However, the difference is that while climax refers to the…

CUT TO:

CUT TO:, is a note within a screenplay that tells the reader the transitional effect between scenes; in this case, it tells the reader that the editorial transition between scenes is a simple cut, or an abrupt shift from one time, place and/or character to another time, place and/or character. EXAMPLES: In Doubt (2008), CUT…

Delay

Delay, is the “calm before the storm” moment that occurs in order to build suspense and dramatic tension for the audience. It occurs when the audience expectation prepares the viewer for a certain action or series of actions to ensue, only to resist delivering the promised action when and how the audience expects to receive…

Descending Action

Descending Action, describes the falling tension in a film after the climax peaks at the end of the second act, thus beginning the new tension of the third act. If the main culmination describes the protagonist’s highest achievement or darkest hour of despair, then the descending action describes the protagonist’s fall from grace or re-emergence,…

Details

Details describe the specific, individual features of a scene and, ultimately, of a film. It’s important for a writer to find specific and interesting details about a story to bring to the readers attention in order to successfully immerse the reader into the world of the story. Impressive, captivating details about character or locations can…

Directing on the Page

Directing on the Page, refers to the writer ascribing specific directorial instructions within the script. It often takes the form of suggesting camera positions such as ZOOM, PAN, ANGLE-ON, CLOSE UP, etc. though sometimes directing on the page can occur as parenthetical suggestions of dialogue delivery; prompting the actor to deliver any given line in…

DISSOLVE TO:

DISSOLVE TO:, is a transition between scenes or shots where two images overlap one another, appearing on the screen at the same time. This effect connects the two images in varying ways. If the overlapping images are locations, then the locations become linked in some pivotal way. If the overlapping images are characters, then the…

Dramatic Irony

Dramatic Irony is articulating the opposite of what would normally be expected; be it either within a character’s dialogue (verbal irony), or within a scenario (situational irony). When irony is placed within the framework of a structured story, it is referred to as dramatic irony. It occurs when the writer puts forward information for the…

Dramaturgy

Dramaturgy, is the theory and practice of dramatic composition; the philosophy of storytelling. Dramaturgy involves the analysis, understanding, and communication of each element of drama to heighten the audience’s overall enjoyment of a story. This process of storytelling initially begins with the storytellers impetus to tell a story, or an event that inspired the story….

Empathy

Empathy, is the audience’s ability to relate, understand and identify with the experiences and attitudes of any character in a film or script. If the audience doesn’t care about the characters or, more importantly, if the audience isn’t emotionally invested in seeing the hero live, die, win or lose, then the work is a failure….

Environment

Environment is any setting in which the writer places the characters. The environment is usually in some way symbolic of either the films characters, the conflict the characters must overcome, or of the films themes. Environment also establishes context for the action of an event. If the event is a bank robbery, describing whether or…

Experience

Experience, refers to the writer ‘writing what they know’; drawing from their individual experiences to inform the storythey are writing, and to gain insight into the emotional pitch of the characters who exist within the story. The writer’s personal knowledge of people in their own lives will help influence the behaviors and idiosyncrasies of the…

Exposition

Exposition, is the manner in which this backstory is revealed to the audience, and how this information is made relevant to the film’s plot. Exposition is always important for an audience to know as it provides context for the characters and their obstacles, while also providing more depth and believability to the overall feel of…

EXT.

EXT., an abbreviation of ‘exterior’, is a description written at the beginning of a slug line that alerts the reader that the activity of any given scene in a script will take place outside, as opposed to whenever INT. is written at the beginning of a slug line, which signifies a scene will take place…

FADE TO:

FADE TO:, is written when a script refers to an editing technique that transitions one scene to the next. In the case of the FADE OUT, it is typical for the image on the screen to literally fade from the audience’s view to a solid black background (though it can be white, or another color)….

Failure

Every character in a film needs goals to motivate their continuous effort to confront and overcome their obstacle; the characters needs are what creates drama and thus, makes audiences want to see if the character ultimately succeeds or fails. If there’s no risk of failure, there will be no tension, so the writer must tread…

Fantasy Characters

Fantasy Characters, allude to the characters who populate fantasy films, or fantastical hallucinations in non-fantasy films. Fantasy characters can still exhibit all other character traits; they have character arcs, attitudes, exhibit change and have an essential core, and in some cases these characters can even be anthropomorphic in nature. However, when dealing with fantasy, there…

Fear

Fear is a huge motivating emotion for both the film’s protagonist and for the audience as well, especially if it’s a matter of life or death. Fear signifies that a character is concerned for their own well being in any given situation and, if the writer does their job, the audience will be concerned for…

Fidelian Sequence

Fidelian Sequence, is a term coined by Syd Field, author of Screenplay, which refers to a series of scenes which are “connected by one single idea, with a definite beginning and end.” This suggests that each segment of a script, independent of the whole of the screenplay, needs to have its own separate beginning, middle,…

First Culmination

The First Culmination tends to occur around the exact midpoint of a film; thus why the first culmination is sometimes referred to as the midpoint. Its storytelling function is to confront the protagonist with his or her greatest obstacle on their path towards the goal thus far. This moment also is meant to act as…

Flashback

Flashback, is a method of delivering exposition to the audience by way of transitioning the chronological flow of the narrative to an event that happened to one or more of the characters at some point in the past. It usually takes the form of a character’s sudden, vivid memory that imparts vital information for the…

Freeze Frame

Freeze Frame, is a visual effect which gives the impression that the image upon the screen has stopped moving and is ‘frozen’ in time. This gives the feeling that, for the characters in the film, time has stopped entirely for a brief moment, as if to give weight to a particular choice or action that…

Future

Future, can be a huge motivating factor for the characters in a film. Is the future something the characters fear approaching? Is the future something the characters look forward to with hope? Or is the future unknowable, neither good or bad? Even within the same film, no two characters necessarily feel the same way about…

Genre

Genres, are commonly acknowledged categories of movies that come with their own sets of rules concerning their content, the storytelling techniques used, and their aesthetic styles. EXAMPLES: Genres have the benefit of having a built-in, confirmed audience following for each specific category. For instance, there are fans who love any and all Science Fiction (Sci-Fi)…

High Concept

High concept, is a film that can be described quickly and succinctly, but also is a film that has a striking, unique idea that usually takes the form of a “What if?” scenario, as in the case of the concept film. To be considered high concept, a film must also have a wide audience appeal–a…

Hook

Hook, is the first few pages of a script that act as a gripping introduction to the story which preoccupies the audience’s imagination and attention so strongly that they are incapable of putting down the script. This makes the screenplay’s first scene critically important; it needs to quickly introduce the world of the film, the…

Hope

Hope, is the emotion an audience has toward the film’s protagonist when they have a strong feeling of empathy for them and want the protagonist to achieve their desired goal. As the audience watches a beloved protagonist seek their goal, The Script Lab’s Encyclopedia of Screenwriting 63 HOPE (CONT’D) the hope that they might succeed…

Horizontal Reading

Horizontal Reading, refers to the constant left-to-right reading that’s required when a script is text-heavy. Similar to block page, horizontal reading occurs when there is too much text on the page and not enough white-space. In both cases, horizontal reading and block pages result in a slow, tedious read for the script’s audience, and makes…

Horror

Horror, is a genre that exploits the audience’s instinctual fears and anxieties by placing the characters of the film into increasingly dangerous and/or surreal scenarios that test not only the protagonist’s ability to overcome horrific obstacles, but also the audience’s ability to endure terror. Experiencing this terror gives the audience the thrill of adrenaline and…

I-Page

I-Page, describes the visual appearance of a page within a screenplay that is the direct opposite of a block page; when there is no action lines whatsoever to break up the dialogue. This creates a single column of text in the middle of the page that looks as though a huge “I” is written right…

I/E.

I/E. ( an abbreviation for “INTERIOR/EXTERIOR”), begins the slug line when the action of a new scene takes place in both interior and exterior locations; usually switching between the action of the two different areas simultaneously. Scenes that can play out like this might involve action between two characters on either side of a door,…

Imagination

Imagination, refers to the writer’s ability to imagine unique scenarios, characters, or sometimes an entirely new world in which the story takes place and unfolds. Differing somewhat from experience, where a writer allows the events of their own lives to inform the details of characters or story, imagination suggests that a writer must also have…

Inciting Incident

Inciting Incident, is the first major plot point that occurs in the story, and is the moment that the character (or characters) of a film become involved in the story. This moment, or incident, is what initiates the characters into the action of the story, yet occurs before the character has made the emotional or…

Indirection

Indirection, occurs when a character makes decisions, usually critical ones, based upon partial or incomplete information–usually sensory though sometimes this incomplete information can be attributed to a misunderstanding between characters, or when one character intentionally and knowingly manipulates another character with fake or augmented information to lead the other to a desired conclusion than what…

Insert:

INSERT:, is a page direction that signals for the reader to make special note of a specific item, object, character, ]location, or happening in the script by calling The Script Lab’s Encyclopedia of Screenwriting 73 INSERT (CONT’D) particular attention to it on the page. This forces the reader’s imagination and the camera’s lens to focus…

INT.

INT., (an abbreviate of ‘interior’) is one of three possible ways to begin a slug line at the heading of any scene in a screenplay; the other two being EXT. (exterior) and I/E. (interior & exterior). INT. is used when a scene takes place inside a location. EXAMPLES: To find an example of INT., one…

INTO FRAME

INTO FRAME or INTO VIEW, suggests that an object or character is entering from beyond the camera’s vision into the frame and the audience’s view. This also suggests that the camera is static and motionless, and that the person or object entering the frame is in motion, however, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes a…

Investigation

Investigation, describes a motivation, or an activity, performed by a character within a scene when they are seeking to gain information about a past event, their surroundings, or of another character. Investigative scenes can transpire in a number of different ways, especially if the character doesn’t want to make it known what they’re investigating, or…

Irony

Irony, occurs when a character uses words, pursues actions or follows intentions which mean one thing to them, yet mean something entirely different to the audience and/or other characters in the film. Though sometimes a character within a story can be intentionally (and unintentionally) ironic, sometimes the entire conceit of a story has an ironic…

JUMP CUT TO:

JUMP CUT TO:, is an editing technique used to show subtle passages of time in an abrupt and jarring way. A jump cut takes two sequential shots from the same camera set-up and angle, but the subject of the shot has moved slightly, causing the subject to appear “jumpy” when edited together. EXAMPLES: A scene…

Location

Location, is where a scene, or a film, takes place, and has a direct influence on the direction the action takes and the pervasive mood of the characters. The effect environment has on a character is critical; an individual will behave differently given different surroundings. Location and environment set the mood and the tone of…

Lock In

Lock In, is the second major plot point of a film–occurring after the inciting incident and before the story’s first culmination (or midpoint). The lock-in also signals the end of act one, and the beginning of act two. As a driver would buckle their safety-belt before driving a car, locking themselves into the vehicle, the…

Logline

Logline, is a simple, succinct, one-sentence long summary of the film–usually focusing on the emotional tone of the movie or the physical struggle which the characters face. Intended to be broad and general, the log line’s purpose is to appeal to as many people as possible, a hook that will make audience’s want to see…

Main Culmination

Main Culmination, is the fourth major plot point of a script and/or movie that occurs after the first culmination and before the third act twist. The main culmination also signifies the end of act two and the beginning of act three. It acts as the moment that brings the main plot of the film to…

MATCH CUT TO:

MATCH CUT TO:, is a cut from one specific image/shot to another mirroring, or matching image/shot which translates a relationship or similarity between the two images in some way. This connection between the two shots can be thematic; two objects which share a similar function and/or use within the story, or two objects that look…

MATCH DISSOLVE TO:

MATCH DISSOLVE TO:, is a dissolve effect that pairs together two matching images, similarly to MATCH CUT TO:. This description in a script will illustrate to the reader how a transition between two scenes is made—while focusing on a specific item, or object, that acts as a visual link between two sequential scenes. As in…

Metaphor

Metaphor, is when one object is used to represent some other object symbolically, or when something is said to be applied in relation to something else. Metaphor is used to link two different ideas in the mind of the audience so that a connection might be made between them, and often times is a method…

Midpoint

Midpoint, is the third major plot point in a film and, as the name suggests, occurs in the relative middle of a film. This plot point is also known as the first culmination, and takes place after the lock in, but before the main culmination. It’s structural function is to display the major protagonist encountering…

Midpoint Contrast

Midpoint Contrast, is the practice of ensuring a difference in a script’s emotional tone between the midpoint (or first culmination) and the main culmination (or end of act two). This contrast is used by the writer in order to take the protagonist, and the audience on a fully satisfying journey, complete with highsand- lows, so…

Midpoint Mirror

  Midpoint Mirror, is a structuring device used that alludes to a script’s midpoint matching the emotional tone of the script’s conclusion, and the emotional and mental state of a protagonist at the end of the film. Framing the story in this manner will allow for the audience to experience a maximum range of feeling,…

Monologue

Monologue, a monologue is a character who gives a speech to another character or group of characters. A monologue can serve any number of storytelling functions—clearly, it can be used to divulge character information; how a character speaks, and the content of their speech, will display character. Monologues can also be used to articulate exposition…

Montage

Montage, is a series of images from different sources that are edited together to give the audience information about the story without the use of dialogue. Montages can be used to demonstrate the passage of time, to cover two or more separate events that are happening simultaneously, and/or to summarize the actions and activities of…

Mood

Mood, is the attitude and atmosphere of a scene, sequence, and act of a script— as well as the prevailing tone of the script overall. Mood is about finding a state of mind for your characters by revealing their character attitude and allowing them to behave naturally in the confines and circumstances that arise within…

Motif

Motif, is the use of metaphor, symbolism, repetition and mood in order to articulate a script’s theme to the reader without having to state it overtly. By establishing a metaphor and discovering moments to return to the metaphor, a writer begins to make an ambiguous statement about the story which the audience recognizes and focuses…

Mystery

Mystery, is the use of placing your protagonist, antagonist, or other supporting characters into scenarios where they are investigating parts of the story they don’t know or don’t understand, and/or is what occurs when characters are making choices based off indirection. Elements of audience awareness also come into play when dealing with mystery; how much…

Mythic Characters

Mythic Characters, like archetypal and allegorical characters, are usually characters who are symbolically intended to represent an idea, an emotion, a vice or a virtue common to the overall human condition. However, to suggest that a character is mythic intones that they are in some way legendary, or worthy of legendary renown. This inflates the…

Nonhuman Characters

Nonhuman Characters, are anthropomorphic characters; characters who are literally anything other than human beings. These characters can manifest in a number of different ways—varying from fantastical characters like fairies, gnomes, goblins (etc.), animalistic characters such as lions, dogs, fish (etc.), mythical beasts like unicorns, griffins, dragons (etc.), supernatural creatures such as ghosts, phantoms, zombies (etc.),…

O.S.

O.S. (an abbreviation for Off Screen), is a page direction that signifies that a character’s dialogue is delivered from somewhere outside the camera’s frame. Oftentimes, if it is beyond the audience’s view, it is beyond the other character’s view as well. This direction separates the characters in a scene with regards to their physical proximity…

O.C.

O.S. (an abbreviation for Off Camera) is a page direction that signifies that a character’s dialogue is delivered from somewhere outside the camera’s field of view. Most commonly used in writing for television, or teleplays. . EXAMPLES: See O.S.

Objective

Objective, is any character’s goal, or incentive for undertaking the opposition’s challenge. The objective is what motivates a character to begin, and to continue, the journey, An objective is also another way of asking what the character wants or needs; what the character thinks he or she is accomplishing by pursuing their goal. An objective…

Obligatory Scene

Obligatory Scene, is a scene that the audience is conditioned to anticipate, either consciously or subconsciously, after certain expectations have already been met. Though an obligatory scene might boarder on cliché, it falls just short of becoming predictable since the audience intuitively expects one scene to follow another—becoming less about predictability and more about cause-and-effect….

Observation

One half of writing is Observation; the other half is recollection. The process of writing involves the writer observing their own experiences, and recalling those experiences later to inform their writing process. Without observation, there would be nothing to recall; without recollection, the writer would have no context in which to place events in terms…

One-String Characters

One-String Characters, are characters in a script that serve a limited role in the entire framework of the story, and are usually only ascribed small bits of dialogue that oftentimes is meant to inform other characters or the audience of exposition or plot details. Occasionally, one-string characters are comedic, and have one-liners, a brief dialogue…

Opposition

Opposition, is the obstacle or antagonist that is acting to prevent the protagonist or protagonists from achieving their desired goal. Without opposition, there is no tension; without tension, there is no drama; without drama, there is no story. Because of this, all movies must have some kind of opposition; something that puts the main character…

P.O.V.

P.O.V., (an abbreviation for ‘point-of-view’), traditionally refers to a camera position that is shown from a particular character’s viewpoint, making the camera, the lens, or the screen the characters ‘eyes’. This puts the audience directly in the physical positioning of the character. However, the p.o.v. may also refer to who’s viewpoint, or outlook, the story…

Pitch

Pitch, refers to the process in which a writer verbally communicates a film idea or television concept to someone else, though pitch implies that the ‘someone else’ is an individual working within the industry. It’s important to paint a picture of the film in the listener’s imagination; giving them an intriguing, likable but fundamentally flawed…

Planting & Payoff

Planting & Payoff, refers to two different, carefully planned out tools employed by writer in order to give the audience an enlightening and emotionally satisfying immersion into the world of the film by providing them first with the planting of a story device, be it either a motif, a reoccurring phrase or snippit of dialogue,…

Plausibility

Plausibility, refers to the setting a of tone of believability within a screenplay.The writer treads a fine line when taking his audience through what is impossible and what is predictable. An audience can become turned off by a movie that asks them to take too many leaps in their imagination to go along with the…

Plot

Plot, refers to the major events that happen within a story, each dependent upon the event that proceeds and succeeds it—also known as the five plot points, which are connected by eight main sequences. Each of these plot points are structured under the frame-work of three acts—colloquially referred to as beginning, middle, and end. The…

Plot Points

Plot Points, are the major events that move the plot and the story forward in a film. Typically, there are five commonly recognized plot points; the inciting incident, which is an event that provokes the main action of the plot; a lock in, the moment that the protagonist accepts and agrees to involve him/herself in…

Point of Attack

Point of Attack, is also known as the inciting incident, or the first major plot point in a film. The point of attack is the moment the character is instigated by someone or something, and builds story momentum that will eventually lead the character to the lock in. The point of attack is also an…

Polarity

Polarity, refers to the sometimes drastic reversal of fortunes for a character throughout the course of a story. From the point the audience is introduced to a character, to the final frame of the film, the protagonist must undergo a significant change both in their character arc as well as in their individual status within…

Predictability

Predictability, is what occurs when an audience can accurately foretell, anticipate, and therefore become bored with the events which transpire in a story. Predictability is fatal for a screenwriter—if the audience can predict the outcome The Script Lab’s Encyclopedia of Screenwriting 116 of a story, there is no suspense, and without suspense there is no…

Preparation

Preparation, can be described as a ‘calm before the storm’. Preparation scenes occur before a character is about to confront a dramatic challenge ahead. How any given character prepares to undergo any given obstacle depends entirely on who the character is, and what the obstacle will be. A writer’s job is to equip the character…

Probability

Probability, is the quantifiable odds of certain expected results happening against the odds of unexpected results; or, alternately, when the odds are 50/50. The Script Lab’s Encyclopedia of Screenwriting 119 PROBABILITY (CONT’D) This helps build suspense; when the audience believes that the protagonist has no chance of success by being shown the probability (or inevitability)…

Props

Props, are objects, items, or personal effects that populate and give life to an environment, character, costume, or scene. Props oftentimes go unnoticed and are the unsung heroes of immersing the actors and the audience into the world of the film; when the decor, costumes and personal property of characters are believable, we believe we…

Protagonist

Protagonist, is the central hero of a script, and typically the movie is told from this character’s point of view. Typically, a protagonist is the character who undergoes the greatest change, struggles against the most overwhelming obstacle, and gains or loses the most as result of pursuing his or her goals. The The Script Lab’s…

Quid Pro Quo

Quid Pro Quo, (from latin) means ‘what for what’, and most often alludes to a generally equal mutual trade between at least two individuals. This is another way of saying “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours”. This ‘trade’ or exchange can often be used to motivate two diametrically opposed characters in a story who…

Raissoneur

Raissoneur, is a French word that translates into English as ‘arguer’ or ‘thinker’. In screenwriting, a raissoneur is a character in the story who acts as the audience’s moral compass throughout the tale, and who—at the script’s conclusion—states the theme, philosophy, or moral of the story to ensure that the intended lesson of the story…

Ramifications

Ramifications, are the results, or consequences, of any given characters actions or behaviors in the story. The predicate of ramifications are the choices a character makes in the story, and the implications their decisions have upon the plot. If any character has two choices before them, and they choose one over the other, then the…

Recognition

Recognition, refers to the moment when a character realizes information that the audience already knew, via audience awareness. This information tends to be vital for the character, and much of the tension and suspense we feel as an audience is rooted in the anticipation of seeing the character make this The Script Lab’s Encyclopedia of…

Resolution

Resolution, occurs when the struggle is concluded, and the protagonist either triumphs or is defeated in their attempt to gain their desired objective. The resolution is necessary, as it gives the audience a sense of closure—being that the resolution typically recaps what has happened, postulates on what is to come, and demonstrates to the audience…

Reversal

Reversal, refers to a storytelling conceit that twists the audience’s expectation in a surprising way to propel the story in a new and previously unexpected direction. Reversals always occur within a single scene, but their impacts can be felt within that scene alone, throughout the course of a sequence, or effect the entire structure of…

Reverse Angle

Reverse Angle, could be described as a counter-P.O.V.– shot that reveals a character from the perspective of an item/object, setting/location, or other character. The reverse angle is used to give a relationship between a character and whatever they are looking at or interacting with and is not generally considered to be subtle. The reverse angle…

Rhythm

Rhythm, refers to how the writer treats tension, action, mood and tone at any given moment; be it in a scene, sequence, plot point, act or throughout the entire narrative. Similarly to the rhythm of a drum beat or percussion, rhythm maintains a speed and a tempo for the film that your audience follows; a…

Rising Action

Rising Action, signifies that the tension or the suspense which motivates action is increasing. Rising Action ensures that the audience doesn’t become bored with or accustomed to the level of action or drama for too long a period of time in a movie. When the stakes aren’t raised—or when a new thread of dramatic tension…

Scenarios

Scenarios, place characters into situations, or circumstances, that challenge them and dare them to overcome obstacles that stand in their way. Scenarios are usually set up in such a way as to exploit their potential for drama to the highest degree; crafting scenarios that challenge characters in ways that are unique to their flaws and…

Scene

Scene, refers to a separate and distinct interaction between a character interacting within the world of the film, be that either through an exchange with another character or group of characters, interacting within an environment or setting, or exchanging a personal, silent moment regarding a prop or piece of costume. There are many different forms…

Scene Heading

Scene Heading, otherwise known as a slug line, is the introductory information required for the reader to understand the context of the scene which precedes it. Scene headings include whether or not the scene takes place on the inside of a structure, otherwise known as INT., or on the outside of a structure, otherwise known…

Script Economy

Script Economy, refers to the writer’s ability to maintain page efficiency while also progressing as much story and articulating as many character details as possible, using the least amount of words possible. This becomes a balancing act for the writer, who must ensure that the script’s pages are neat, accessible and easy-to-read, yet ensuring that…

Sequence

Sequence, refers to a collection of scenes that transpire between plot points, interconnecting these plot points together seamlessly and giving the audience a sense that the story they are viewing/reading is organic and natural; covering the tracks of structure and formula. Any given sequence can typically be ten to fifteen minutes/pages long, and pose their…

Setting

Setting, describes the arena in which a story unfolds. Similarly, a setting is a location, environment or even world of the story, providing the location of the scenes as they play out for the characters. It also alludes to the time period of the story—when the story takes place as well. The setting has a…

SMASH CUT TO:

SMASH CUT TO:, refers to an editing technique that edits together two emotionally variant scenes, cut together in order to juxtapose the heightened emotion to drastically demonstrate how quickly attitudes or behaviors can change. For instance, if at the end of one scene, a character is happy and laughing, then the scene is SMASH CUT…

Split Screen

Split Screen, is a storytelling conceit used to demonstrate two different images at two different locations, sometimes at two different times simultaneously; each occupying a different section of the screen but split compositionally. Usually, there’s a focus on a commonality between the two split scenes—something that unites the two somehow; either through an object, a…

Stakes

Stakes, refer to what a character has to lose if their goals or needs aren’t met of if they fail to achieve their desire by the film’s end. The higher the stakes, the greater the sense of dramatic urgency and tension. It’s the writer’s constant effort to always continue to raise the stakes for a…

Status Quo

Status Quo, is the existing state or condition of affairs for the characters in a film. Their day-to-day realities, the banality or variety in their current life situation. The status quo is what the character expects to find for them when they wake up in the morning. Drama and tension occurs when they find something…

Stereotypical Character

Stereotypical Character, refers to a character who has been oversimplified in order to demonstrate certain exploitative traits regarding a larger group that character belongs to, be it their religion, gender, race, nationality, economic class, mental or physical handicaps, etc. The use of stereotypical characters are commonly understood to be false representations of their particular grouping—…

Stock Footage

Stock Footage, refers to film or footage that has been previously shot under a different context for an altogether different purpose than to fulfill the storytelling needs of any one specific script or screenplay. Therefore, any footage that wasn’t shot for a film is stock-footage, and can sometimes be used by filmmakers to add a…

Story

Story, is the bi-product of the communion that takes place between the storyteller (writer/director/etc.) and the audience. Story is a narrative work, told by a narrator that relates the occurrences of an event or series of events to a group of listeners or viewers. All stories inherently contain a definite beginning, an identifiable middle point,…

Storyboards

Storyboards, are a tool employed by filmmakers to help visualize the composition, or framing, of any given shot that displays the action-content of a script. Storyboards are used to take the written word upon a screenplay’s page and interpret it visually for the first time—usually via pen, pencil or watercolor. It helps the director articulate…

Style

Style, is a combination of motifs, mood, genre, dramatic composition, and visual appeal that combine to provide the overall feel of a film. Style is the culmination of all elements of storytelling and how they work together, as a whole, to take the audience through a cinematic experience. A film or screenplay’s style is ultimately…

Subplot

Subplot, is the story that exists outside of the apparent plot of a film—the underlying drama that exists below the surface of the major narrative. Subplot is meant to reflect the same dramatic themes and motifs of the film at large—but usually tends to have a much more limited scope and influence. This doesn’t mean…

Subplot Characters

Subplot Characters, are characters who’s primary, story-based function exists within the framework of a story’s subplot. These characters usually have motivations and needs that exist outside the motivations and needs of a protagonist, though not always. They exist to give the overall plot of a screenplay a degree of variance to break up any monotony…

Subtext

Subtext, is what is inferred or insinuated, not by what a character says, but by what a character doesn’t say; and is often intoned by use of body language and the manner of their behavior. Oftentimes it seems that in real life, people seldom say anything or everything that crosses their minds—and employ subtle methods…

Supporting Characters

Supporting Characters, are characters who have significant interaction with the protagonist, and contribute to the major events of a film, but who aren’t the primary focus of the story’s narrative. Upon the onset of writing a story, the writer must first decide from who’s perspective, or point of view, the events of a story will…

Surprise

Surprise, alludes to the writer always working to provide a story that is full of exciting twists and turns in the narrative which prevents the audience from becoming lulled to boredom through repetitious storytelling or predictable structure. Sometimes, keeping a protagonist in a state of perpetuating surprise will lead to your audience’s surprise at appropriate…

Suspense

Suspense, similarly to surprise, is a tool utilized by the writer to provoke the audience’s immersion into the story by first creating a sympathetic character, and then exploiting the audience’s emotions by placing that character in a situation that threatens their well-being and compromises that character’s ability to achieve their needs, desires and goals. The…

Symbol

Symbol, is a reoccurring image or motif that, through repetition, becomes a metaphor for a particular character, the story, or the theme. Through a symbols constant use, the item or object that becomes the symbol objectively begins to represent something else to the audience, and sometimes to the characters themselves. Symbols are used to add…

Symbolic Characters

Symbolic Characters,similarly to allegorical characters and, to a degree, archetypal characters, are characters that serve a symbolic or metaphorical role in the story. This is done by associating the character with a symbol or metaphor, being a living personification of that symbolic object or item; assuming it’s psychological and objective characteristics for the needs of…

Sympathy

Sympathy, is a communion shared between audience and character; in particular, with a character who is undergoing a particularly troubling, enigmatic, oppressive, or sorrowful scenario. Sympathy occurs when the audience is capable of empathizing with a character—when the audience cares, hopes and fears for the characters wellbeing, the audience will likewise sympathize with the character…

Telegraphing

Telegraphing, is a technique the writer employs to subtly suggest information to the audience by concealing it within the subtext. Telegraphing allows the writer to suggest certain dramatic cues to the audience that the characters may or may not be aware of. Telegraphing, then, is associated with audience awareness; the writer’s conscious effort, moment-by-moment, scene-by-scene,…

Tension

Tension, arises whenever an obstacle separates a character from their desired need or goal. Whenever the audience fears for the protagonist, or doubts whether or not the hero will be capable of achieving their goal, tension begins. Though tension can be any strain, physical or psychological, that prevents a character from succeeding, tension can be…

Theme

Theme, refers to the purpose of telling any given story—what the audience stands to gain by watching, and what they risk losing out on if they don’t. The themes of a story are the moral insights the audience will realize upon participation in the tale, and give meaning to the story. Oftentimes, theme answers why:…

Third Act Twist

Third Act Twist, is typically the most memorable twist that transpires throughout the course of a film and is the ‘game changing’ moment that occurs around the middle of act III. If the purpose of the third act is to introduce a new dramatic tension that will bring the film to a close, the third…

Tone

Tone, concerns themood of a story and the emotional reaction the writer intends to provoke from his or her audience. Tone can be used to allude to a film’s themes and also provides shades of the writer’s individual voice throughout the script; what subject matter does the film concern, how does the script approach the…

Twist

Twist, is any moment in a script that redirects the course of a story’s events. Though the third act twist is one of the most crucial twists in the film—a twist can occur at any time, and usually acts as a pivot-point that poses new challenges and throws unexpected scenarios at the characters, who then…

Unity

Unity, is the structural and thematic ‘oneness’ of a story—and that, despite the fact that a story is comprised by multiple acts, plot points and sequences, the whole is still greater than the sum of its parts. The writer must compose the individual components of story almost as if each scene is a short film…

V.O.

V.O. (an abbreviation of “Voice Over”), is typically written in parentheses after a character’s name and before dialogue is spoken, suggesting that whatever any given character says is spoken outside of the scene’s immediate context, and often-time serves the purpose of providing the audience with narration. Though The Script Lab’s Encyclopedia of Screenwriting 176 voice-over…

Vertical Reading

Vertical Reading, insinuates the exact opposite of horizontal reading by providing the reader with efficiently written screenplay pages that are quick and easy to read; forcing the eye to move vertically down the page from top to bottom, thus rendering a script a literal ‘page-turner’. The desired goal of the writer is to guide the…

Visuals

Visuals, refer to the writer’s effort to provide the audience with details of the story divulged through visual cues rather than providing this information audibly: in other words; to show the audience rather than telling them. Also, the writer’s ability to employ detailed descriptions of the story’s visual elements give insight to certain subtle dramatic…

White Space

White Space, is the writer’s conservative use of page-space while writing a screenplay. To ease the reader into the framework of the story, the writer must ensure to not only build compelling, interesting characters and place them in a scenario that challenges and confronts their unique character flaws, but must do so in a way…

World of the Story

World of the Story, refers to the reality of the world which the film’s characters occupy; a world that, though it mirrors the reality the audience wakes up to and faces every day, can be different in any conceivable way from real life as long as it serves to help tell the story. The world…