Shot Headings: Location

 In How To Write a Screenplay, Screenplay Blog, Screenplay Format, Shot Headings

Location is another no-brainer. At this point, we know we’re either indoors or outdoors (perhaps both) — now we need to know where the damn thing is taking place. Here’s the way the Coen Brothers open up Cormac’s No Country For Old Men:

EXT. MOUNTAINS – NIGHT

Snow is falling in a gusting wind. The voice of an old man:

VOICE OVER

I was sheriff of this county when I was twenty-five. Hard to believe. Grandfather was a lawman. Father too. Me and him was sheriff at the same time, him in Plano and me here. I think he was pretty proud of that. I know I was.

You can choose to be more specific with your location. From The American by Rowan Joffe:

INT. LOGGIA ABRUZZO, JACK’S ROOM- DAY

JACK walks in and puts the bag on the kitchen table and the guidebook on the bedside table. Apart for this, JACK has avoided unpacking: living entirely out of his holdall for some time.

I chose this example for a reason. We have a general location, followed by a more specific one. Most of the time, you’ll see hyphens between the locations. Joffe uses a comma to take us from general to specific. There’s also another small difference: no space between the specific location and hyphen leading us into the time of day. The thing here to remember is stay consistent (in the draft I have of The American, Joffe’s not). You might see the same scene done this way:

INT. LOGGIA ABRUZZO – JACK’S ROOM – DAY

JACK walks in and puts the bag on the kitchen table and the guidebook on the bedside table. Apart for this, JACK has avoided unpacking: living entirely out of his holdall for some time.

A location can also be on its own line. From The Incredibles by Brad Bird:

INSIDE THE JET

Bob, clad in his old (and now too-tight) Mr. Incredible suit. MIRAGE IS ON BOARD. SHE DEBRIEFS HIM.

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