Animated Scenes

If a writer is writing an animated film, the screenplay will be formatted the same as a live-action film. He or she will just be sure and mention the screenplay is for an animated feature while marketing it to potential buyers.

However, if a writer is writing a screenplay that is largely live action, but has animation sprinkled in here and there, he or she will need to call out the animated sequences as they occur.

There are many different ways to show partial animation in a live-action film. Maybe only one scene will be animated. Maybe large parts of the film are animated. Maybe main characters are animated during the animated sequences, or maybe they remain live action while everything else around them is animated. Whatever the situation, the writer needs to call out the animation clearly.

Animated Scene:

If there is only a single animated scene, then you'll call out the animation within a Master Scene Heading.

Here are several ways to make that happen:

In the first two Scene Headings above, the animation is called out at the end of the heading.

The second two examples have ANIMATED SEQUENCE moved to the front of the Scene Heading. You may underline the animation call-out if you want to be sure it stands out more. Notice I left off the EXT. and the DAY. You can include them if you like.

If a character is dreaming, and his dreams are animated, the call-out could be ANIMATED DREAM SEQUENCE.

Many Animated Scenes:

If the animation last for more than one scene, the writer may opt to put the animation call out BEFORE the Master Scene Heading.

Look at these possibilities:

BEGIN ANIMATION is a Subheading and will precede a Master Scene Heading. You can underline it as well to be sure it stand out for the reader.

Ending the Animated Sequence:

Whether the animation is only one scene or many scenes, I'd suggest using another call-out to end the animation.

Here are some possibilities:

The first two examples above are Subheadings that will exist on their own lines. If you began the animated sequence with an underlined call-out, you may underline these as well for consistency purposes.

The last two examples are formatted as Transitions. They'll be punctuated with periods.

Partial Animation:

But what if you want to animate parts of a scene, but not others? Maybe when Peter enters Fancyland, an animated world, he'll remain live action.

The best way to handle such situations is with Special Notations.

Look at these two examples:

A writer could put these notes just below a animation call-out, and only one note would be necessary, even if Peter moves between Fancyland and the real world several times throughout the film.

Animated Characters:

What if you are writing a film that is largely live action, but occasional characters will be animated within the real world? I'd just say so in the Direction paragraph the first time the characters are introduced.

When writing screenplays that are partially animated, the key is to be clear and consistent with your animation call-outs.