The Three OPTIONAL parts
of a Scene Heading

Aside from the Mandatory information required of every Scene Heading, there is also other types of information that a writer may decide to include as well. This information isn't required, but can be extremely helpful in conveying information to the reader.

Take a look at the example below:

You can see the Mandatory information is there. We know that this scene will be an Exterior shot (EXT.), placed in the CITY PARK during the DAY. That's really all that is completely necessary as far as a Scene Heading is concerned.

But let's look at the additional information the writer has provided, determine what it is, and see what it does.

1. Camera Shot:

This bit of information keys the reader in to the movement of the scene and how the camera will need to move with it. In this case, we have a TRACKING SHOT, which means the camera will need to move with the characters or action of the scene throughout. So here, characters will likely be strolling along and talking. The camera will "track" them as they go.

There are many Camera Shots that can be called out here: Establishing Shots, Aerial Shots, Two Shots, Three Shots, Medium Shots . . . the list goes on and on.

But BE CAREFUL!! You don't want to overuse this option! Use it only in VERY special situations, and don't use it often.

For an explanation of the various Camera Shots available and their rules of use, please go here.

2. Subject of Shot:

This information lets the reader know that JOHN AND SUZY will be the subjects of a TRACKING SHOT throughout the scene. Sometimes the writer may want the scene to open with a close-up of a character (CLOSE ON JOHN), a particular body part of a character (JOHN'S HAND), or maybe an object (ALARM CLOCK). In any of these cases, you can call these out as the Subject of the Shot in the Scene Heading.

For more information on how to properly use Subject of Shot, please go here.

3. Specific Notation:

Using the example above we can also determine that it is raining in this scene by reading the simple addition of (RAIN).

With the use of parentheses at the end of a Scene Heading (but not always at the end), there is a large variety of information that a writer can convey to a reader, be it weather [(RAIN); (SNOW)], time specifics [(1842); (8:45 AM); (April 12, 2008)], film stock [(NEWS FOOTAGE); (HOME VIDEO)], film speed [(SLOW MOTION)], or more.

For more information on the types of Specific Notations that can be used in a Scene Heading, please go here.