Terminology for Screenwriters (part 1)

At least more than 30 of the following terms are commonly used in film screenwriting in Hollywood. From actors, writers, to directors, producers and producers alike know and use them very often. Know the terms of this script, proving that you are an “insider”.

1. A-story, B-story, C-story

A-story: The main story of the movie. The journey of a hero to find his purpose.

B-story: A side story of the movie. This story goes hand in hand with the main story and holds the key points that impact the main story. Typically, filmmakers often use a love story to make a B-story.

C-story (often seen in dramas): Same as B-story, but smaller, less important.

For example: “I like the love story a lot – I kind of wish that instead of this project being a comedy with the love story as the B-story, I wish that this was a romantic comedy where the love story is the A- story ”- I absolutely love love stories – I had wished that this project instead of being a comedy with a side story is a love story – Let’s make a romantic comedy, using The main story is a love story.

2. Act Break, Break Into 2, Break Into 3

At the end of each scene (Act) is a break or an act-break. This is the moment on the TV program, you will see them turning through the commercials. And to maintain the “viewership rate” (or to get them excited to wait through the commercials) the “act-breaks” are all placed at the highest or most important moments of the film.

In the film, at the end of each scene can also be considered a “break” (with or without advertising). And the easiest way to identify a “break” is when the hero (protagonist) tries to make a tough, difficult choice in order to achieve his goals.

In the movies: we have a 3-chapter structure (3Act) and there will be 2 “act-breaks”: Including one at the end of scene 1 + scene 2; and one at the end of scene 3 – this is also the climax of the movie.

In dramas: 4-scene textures (4Act) are the most common.

For example: “And then, in the midst of his acute grief over the death of his Aunt and Uncle, Luke Skywalker tells ObiWan that he wants to train in the ways of the force, and we break into 2 ….” – The same pain of the death of my aunt and uncle. Luke Skywalker (the character from Star War) told ObiWan, that he wanted to train under the guidance of the Force, and we moved on to scene 2… ”

3. Beat

Depending use case, a “beat” can be a detail of a movie story / storyboard; or it could be a moment in a scene of a movie, or a scene that is longer than usual.

Example 1 (a detail of a plot / film scenario): “The debate beat seems weak – how can we strengthen the dilemma before the break into two?” – The content of this argument seems too weak. Now we have to find some way to increase its dramatic level, before moving on to the second scene.

Example 2 (moment in a scene of the movie) “I’m concerned about the beat where Indiana Jones catches the date to prevent his friend from eating the poison – I want to make sure it’s clear that he sees that the monkey is dead first. ” – I’m worried that Indiana Jones (the protagonist in the famous adventure movie of the same name) decided to avenge his poisoned friend, I wanted to make sure he had to see the monkey die first ( The monkey was also poisoned.)

Example 3 (extended footage deposited): “After reading her dead husband’s will, she takes a beat, collects herself, and returns to …” – After reading her husband’s will, she became depressed silent and deep in thought, then she gradually returned to reality, … ”

4. Beat Out

Action develops the main scenes of the story, making them better, more attractive, more charismatic. Similarly, the main script is often called the “beat sheet”.

For example: “Okay, I’ve got the core story – now it’s time to beat it out!” – Ok, now we have the story – it’s time to develop it.

5. Break A Story (Rewrite / Reconstructing the story)

In the case of a story that is considered to be not good, you will have to redefine all the main points of the story, including the art break intervals, the climax and rebuild the story in a different direction, change a few places at the request of the director / editor. In order to make it better, more attractive.

6. Callback

The action to recall, recalling something that has been done (or said) before.

Example: “That was a great flux capacitor joke in Act 1 – can we do a callback to that in Act 3?” – The jokes about the capacitor in Act 1 are great – we can repeat that piece in Act 3.

7. Cold Open

Just like a teaser, Cold Open refers to an opening paragraph of an episode (usually seen in dramas) but there is absolutely no appearance of the main characters or the main story of the film. (usually we will see them soon after the movie title appears)

For example: “This episode of CSI starts with a cold open where we see the murder of the Attorney General – then after the opening credits we’re in the lab where Grissom is examining three pig brains …” – This episode of CSI ( The famous TV series of AXN on the topic of crime) begins with a tense opening sequence, when the killer murdered General Attoney. But right after the movie’s introduction, we return to the lab where Grisson is working hard to examine 3 big brains (maybe the victim’s) …

8. Creative differences

Depending on the context, the phrase This can mean different things.

First, it means two or more different ideas within the same team (in a positive way).

Example: “We had creative differences” – Now we have different ideas to choose from.

The second, like the first meaning but with more negative implications, can cause controversy, hate each other … is the cause of the team split.

For example: “We developed the project with Shia LeBeouf but parted ways because of creative differences” – We have implemented and developed this project with Shia LaBeouf (starring in blockbuster Transformer) but now no longer. again because of disagreements in the team.

9. Derivative Content

Network products (such as apps, online games, blogs, short episodes) that follow movies that filmmakers use to develop brand advertising for the movie after it’s released (or maybe to please the fans)

For example: “We love the concept for the movie – tell us about your ideas for derivative content” – We really like the theme of the movie – tell us about your brand development ideas.

Another example of the translator: After the success of How to Train Your Dragon, the filmmakers released a few short episodes about Berk land and Hiccup and Toothless adventures, and 1 game line on the phone: School of Dragons; short film The gift of Night Fury; short films The book of dragons and 3 seasons about Hiccup and his friends, including: Riders of Berk, Defender of Berk and Race to the edge. These networking products are collectively referred to as Derivative Content

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