When to use CONTINUOUS

Discussion in 'Basics' started by azguy1000, Jan 25, 2013.

  1. azguy1000

    azguy1000 Bronze Member

    I have a lot of scenes in my screenplay that take place continuously. I am wondering if I have to use continuous at all? Is that necessary?

    Also, what happens when several scenes are continuous, and day turns to night along the way? Then what?

    This is a bit confusing and annoying as it seems so simple, but a hundred different opinions!

  2. ...

    ... Bronze Member

    You use continuous when the time of day hasn't changed. Use MOMENTS LATER when it has changed slightly. LATER when it has changed a lot. to change to NIGHT or DAY you simply write NIGHT or DAY.

    If day changes to night in the middle of a scene you put DAY/NIGHT in the slug and then use words in the action lines to determine when it happens.
  3. Lon

    Lon Bronze Member

    I haven't seen CONTINUOUS used very much, but when I have, it's usually been during action sequences with frequent changes of location. A car chase, for example; cutting back and forth from inside the car with the driver, to outside on the street, to inside the other car with the other driver, to pedestrians reacting, etc. But even then it's not necessary. In fact I can't think of a single situation in which it would be.
  4. Jeff Jencks

    Jeff Jencks Bronze Member

    I think the only time it would be necessary is if the action is moving. For example:


    Protagonist is running from someone with a gun. He sees a Chinese restaurant and decides to duck inside for cover.


    Waiter greets protagonist at the door making it difficult for protagonist to hide.

    End example

    In other words, even just changing scenes isn't enough of a reason to use continuous. I'd only use continuous if there's a change in location.
  5. azguy1000

    azguy1000 Bronze Member

    so what if the protagonist has a couple scenes in different rooms of an office, then he gets in his car to drive home to pick up his wife for dinner. Then, they leave for dinner and have a scene talking in a car? Along the way time changed from day to night.

    It seems like it would almost all be continuous which seems like too much continuous! LOL. This is where I get confused.
  6. azguy1000

    azguy1000 Bronze Member

    Okay, actually, I think I've got it now. I swear I'm not stupid, just a perfectionist! Thanks for your help! :cool:
  7. spinningdoc

    spinningdoc Bronze Member

    That's why you only use it when it's really important that the scenes are immediately together, and personally if I want to emphasise continuous action, I use minislugs.

    Think about how you watch a film - you have no idea what the slugs are. Time jumps between scenes are expected. Time being continuous or not isn't that important, unless it is important, if you see what I mean. We don't need to be told, on the whole. You go by lighting, characters' behaviour, maybe dialogue or a clock.

    There's another reason not to use CONTINUOUS unless you really have to. If/when the script goes into production, someone will put it through a bit of software that yanks out all the slugs and comes up with a location list, which will also include DAY/NIGHT, which helps the director and DP plan the shoot, the lighting, the recces and the costing. CONTINUOUS will be of no help to anyone at that stage.
  8. HollywoodScribe

    HollywoodScribe Bronze Member

    Then my advice is to not use it at all. It isn't needed.
  9. Donald_Kaufman

    Donald_Kaufman Bronze Member

    I don't think I've ever used CONTINUOUS. Of course, now that I said that, I'll probably use it next week. :rolleyes:
  10. geckopelli

    geckopelli Bronze Member

    Not generally used in screenplays.
    Never saw it in a spec.
    More of a TV thing.

    Generally, a script is written:


    Bonnie and Clyde on the sofa. The conversation is continuous.

    But if it's absolutely needed to help the read, use it.

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