TV Footage

Sometimes a writer will want to show TV footage on screen, such as news footage.

BE WARNED: Do not show TV footage you do not have the rights to. If you show a scene with a character watching a movie, you'll need to either own the rights to the movie, obtain the rights to the movie prior to trying to sell your script, or make sure to use a movie considered to be public domain.

When including TV footage in a film, the writer needs to decide how the footage will be displayed. Will it be on a TV within a scene, or will the footage itself be the scene?

TV Footage within a Scene:

If the TV Footage is to be shown on a TV characters are watching within a scene, here is how it can be handled:

When the camera needs to focus on the TV, the writer indicates so with the Subheading ON TV SCREEN. He or she could have also used ON TELEVISION, or something of that nature.

Once the TV footage is finished, the audience is returned BACK TO SCENE.

Notice, when the reporter was talking before the camera was focused on her, her Character Heading was given the (V.O.) extension. Once she is on screen, the extension is dropped.

TV Footage As a Scene:

If the TV Footage IS the scene, it can be formatted easily with a simple Special Notation added to the Master Scene Heading.

Look at this example:

With (NEWS FOOTAGE) added to the end of the Scene Heading, the director in cued that the entire scene will be show as News Footage. From there, just write the scene as you would any other scene.

For more examples of Special Notations, check out the Special Notations page.

Occasionally the writer will want to string together different footage from different news organizations.

This can be accomplished with a Montage:

Pretty easy.

Notice I've sprinkled a few extras into the scenes. In New York, I included a Superimposition to appear on the screen for the audience to read. In London, I added some Dialogue.

Because of the extras, I decided to cue the official end to the Montage with END MONTAGE. to make sure the reader doesn't get confused. Normally this isn't necessary, as Montages tend to end with the next full Master Scene Heading.

There are MANY ways this Montage could be formatted. Check out the Montage page for more examples.