I have no idea whether this is the first blog of it’s kind… I call it a Blog in Action since it’s written in a screenplay/TV-script format. It’s just the type of writing I do, and readers unfamiliar with the format usually catch on very quickly. I’ve added a few tips below to help decode the script format if you’re curious.
Did all of this happen to me, exactly the way I’ve written it? Of course not. The events depicted here are all based on actual events, and yes, Ron Smith and I have frequent conversations. He’s been with me for many years even though he physically left the earth in 1998. Other than Ron’s and mine, all other names have been changed to protect the innocent, and even the not-so-innocent.
But let me be very clear: I have taken author’s liberty where it supports the purpose of the blog: to use my personal experience of moving to New York (at my age) to showcase this City and it’s diverse, vibrant, defiant, cultural, creative, colossal, and ultimately unique foothold on the world.
You’d be safe to use the 80/20 rule — 80% true to fact, and 20% stretched. But keep in mind, even the 80/20 rule only applies 80% of the time. Where does fact leak into stretched-fact? You’ll have to come to New York and buy me a beer to find out. You might be surprised at the answers, though.
SEQUENCE: Technically, each post in the blog would be considered a SEQUENCE, which is a collection of SCENEs that tie a thread of the story together. I’ve called my posts SCENEs within a CHAPTER, mainly because it’s easier than hitting readers in the face with the SEQUENCE idea right off the bat.
SCENE — In screenplay format, a SCENE mostly represents a physical setting where something takes place. Basically, this means the camera crew has to set up their equipment here and one or more actors knows they have to show to the set and do their job. If the camera crew has to move their stuff, it’s a new SCENE.
SLUG — the heading of each SCENE that tells (A) whether it’s INTerior, aka inside some building or structure or EXTerior, aka outside in the open air, (B) where it takes place, and (C) is it day or night (or does it CONTINUE in the same time setting from the previous scene)
SUB-SLUG — words like ‘LATER’ or ‘IN THE DINING ROOM’ suggest a slight change in a SCENE, but writing a full SLUG line would distract from the flow of the action.
INSERT — when a very specific camera shot needs to be displayed as part of the viewing experience in a SCENE
PAN — A shot where the camera moves.
WIDE — A shot where the camera is moved back and takes in a lot of content from side-to-side
LONG — A shot where the camera is moved back, but tends to focus or zoom in on one image.
CU — Close Up shot
CUT TO — a SCENE-to-SCENE transition that is quick — replacing one image with another
FADE — a SCENE-to-SCENE transition that uses a gradual movement, usually to or from a dark screen.
Why all the CAPITAL LETTERS ? — these are PRODUCTION MARKERS, that tell the PROP MANAGER or the SOUND EFFECTS MANAGER they’ll have some special contribution to the scene.
(O.S.) — Off Screen — a character’s dialog that is heard but the character is not shown.
OVER — used when the action of the scene (or several scenes) happens that might not match the dialog or music being heard. Screenplay format doesn’t handle these parallel streams of information all that well.