Text to Begin or End a Film

Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, a script will begin with the words FADE IN:.

What that indicates is that we are "fading in" to the first image or scene of the film.

But what if the first image are of words on the screen, such as a quote, or a small prologue?

Text to Begin a Film:

Well, you don't FADE IN: to a black screen with words on it. Instead, you place the words BEFORE the FADE IN:.

Look at this example:

In this situation, the first words in the script are BLACK SCREEN. Of course, it could have been WHITE SCREEN, or whatever color the writer wants to see first on the screen.

After that, the writer indicates the words on the screen with the use of a Superimposition via the word SUPER typed in ALL CAPS and followed by a colon.

Finally, the required quote is typed and enclosed in quotations.

Only then can we FADE IN:.

If the desired quote is too long to fit on the same line as SUPER:, then place it below SUPER: and indent it as Dialogue.

Here's an example:

Everything else is the same.

To create the indent in Final Draft, I typed a fake Character Heading followed by the quote enclosed in quotations, and then deleted the Character Heading.

Finally, what if you have a prologue to the film, and you'd like it to scroll up the screen, as in the scrolls seen in the Star Wars films?

Do it like this:

The word SCROLL replaces the word SUPER. The words are then indented as Dialogue again, with double spaces between paragraphs.

To create the double spaces, I simply held SHIFT when I pressed ENTER, which moves you to a new line of Dialogue.

Text to End a Film:

Many times, especially in films that are based on true events, the writer will want to end the film with a sort of epilogue; basically, words on the screen telling the audience what happened to various characters in the film and/or where they are now.

It would look like this:

The formatting is similar to what we saw before the film, but the words are placed between FADE TO BLACK. and THE END.

Notice I placed each individual paragraph within its own set of quotation marks. This cues the director that the paragraphs are not on the screen at the same time.