Thursday, September 20, 2007

SP Terms - Sluglines


Sluglines or probably more accurately Slug lines provide information about a specific scene. Also known as a scene heading, a master scene heading or shot heading.

In Spec scripts, the slug line is typically comprised of three pieces of information:-

1) Scene intros - an abbreviation documenting information about where the scene is set.

        INT. - interior and tells us the scene is shot indoors
        EXT. - exterior and tells us the scene is shot outdoors
        I/E. - also known as INT./EXT. (or vice-versa) this tells us the scene
                is a combination of indoors & outdoors

2) Location - information about where the scene takes place

        e.g. INT. FITTS HOUSE or INT. FITTS HOUSE - RICKY’S ROOM

        Note how elements of a location are separated by a hyphen and
        need to occur from general to specific

        e.g. INT. ROLLS ROYCE - TRUNK
        
        or EXT. SEATTLE - DOWNTOWN - FERRY TERMINAL - DRY DOCK

        (though too much information makes for a difficult read.)

3) Times - the time of day that the scene is taking place (a practical implication for eventual production)

        e.g. DAY or NIGHT

        They recommended that for Specs, writers should confine
        themselves to these two only. This is to maintain the reader’s         orientation and still be able to tell the story.

        However, any or more of the the following are deemed valid with
        many readers:-
        
        AFTERNOON, MORNING, EVENING, LATER, MOMENTS LATER,
        CONTINUOUS, THE NEXT DAY, SUNRISE, 3 AM

        (and so-on).


In addition to master slug lines, it is now commonplace to see what are called mini-slugs (or secondary headings) within a master slug lined scene. In other words, once the scene has established itself as being (say) in an apartment, it is acceptable to shift focus to a specific part of the apartment without the accompanying (messy) new slug line.

e.g. INT. TOM’S APARTMENT - NIGHT

Matt sits down on the sofa... he rolls up his newspaper and swats the cat playfully. The cat jumps off and walks over to Matt’s

COMPUTER DESK

where he jumps up and lays down on the keyboard.



Finally:

In a shooting script, the slug line can comprise extra components :-

        2.5) Type of shot - CLOSEUP, WIDE, ESTABLISHING, TRACKING SHOT,
                                        AERIAL, UNDERWATER etc


        2.6) Subject of shot - focus is deliberately concentrated
                                        e.g. TRACKING SHOT - JIM, MIKE, PAT


(these are outlined here only to explain what one might see - maybe - in a shooting script... it’s worth noting however that standards are not always consistent, so variations can/will occur.)

1 comment:

Alex said...

Incredible, you answered two questions I had in one shot! BTW, I live the PNW (Seattle to be precise) and also have many interests but little talent, so I'm sure I will continue to enjoy your blog.