How to write a montage
in a screenplay

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How to write a montage in a screenplay

What is a montage in a screenplay and how to format it correctly? What is the difference between one or more locations? Here are some best practice examples on how to create this effect in a scenario.

The term "MONTAGE" defines a collection of moments, mostly without dialogue, grouped to present a slow passage of time within the same timeline. A montage can refer to a single or more locations.


Montage in a single location

A perfect example of a montage is when you describe a dream somebody is having:

INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT

Luke comes back home and drops on his bed.

MONTAGE - LUKE'S DREAM

-- A man walks on the beach.

-- A dog runs towards a ball.

-- Jane smiles at Luke.

BACK TO THE BEDROOM

The bullet list can be constructed using a single or double hyphen, alternatively letters can be used.

INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT

Luke comes back home and drops on his bed.

MONTAGE - LUKE'S DREAM

A) A man walks on the beach.

B) A dog runs towards a ball.

C) Jane smiles at Luke.

END MONTAGE



Notes:
The montage can also start with a slugline: EXT. LUKE'S DREAM - MONTAGE
Another way to close a montage is to use: END MONTAGE
The line identifying the end of the montage section can also be omitted when inferred from the text.


Montage in multiple locations

Sometimes you want to condense events that occur in several places at the same time into one scene.

EXT. THE CITY - MONTAGE OF IMAGES

Luke walks in the city... Jane reads a book... A man drives a car along the river... It starts raining.


Another way to indicate the beginning of a montage is: MONTAGE - VARIOUS
However, when there are multiple locations, it may be best to define each with a scene header and a line or two of text.

MONTAGE:

EXT. THE CITY - DAY

Luke walks in the city.

EXT. THE BEACH - DAY

Jane reads a book.

EXT. A VILLAGE NEARBY - DAY

A man drives a car along the river.

EXT. AT THE LAKE - DAY

It starts raining.

Also, sometimes montage is implicit in the sequence of short scenes with only a descriptive paragraph. Keep in mind that the way a montage is written can vary from writer to writer, so it's a good idea to read other scripts and experiment with different styles. Remember that it is good practice to try to create easy-to-read text and if you decide to adopt a specific style, try to stick to it.



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