Screenplay Action

BULLETS

Long action narratives can be cumbersome to read in screenplays, and might even deflect the reader in Hollywood from reading them at all. One formatting option, particularly in a scene where an intricate series of action is required—a gunfight, for example—is to bullet the key actions and events.

EXAMPLE:

EXT AIRPORT DAY

Blazing sun. Hot tarmac. The CROPDUSTER grows as Deke nears it, running as if his life depends on it (which it does).

  • a machine gun blasts from the cockpit
  • Deke hits the dirt
  • he takes aim with his rifle
  • the Romanian Border Guards gain on him
  • Deke pulls the trigger, killing the GUNMAN
  • the airplane EXPLODES

In this way a highly-involved action scene can be represented simply and cleanly, to the great relief of the reader.

Richard Walter

The above guidelines come directly from Richard Walter, Professor and Co-Chairman of the screenwriting department at UCLA. For more of his guidance see . .

There are no rules in Hollywood!

WARNING: Apply any screenplay formatting guidelines with discernment, and at your own peril. No claim can be made to the absolute correctness of any approach, as no absolutely correct screenplay format is known to exist in Hollywood. There are no rules! (just be sure you don't break any of them).

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