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Aris Boch
December 29th, 2005, 06:01 PM
I started reading Horizon pretty close to the start of the first season. I really enjoyed the stories and they are very engaging but I often feel the script format hard to get into. I've managed to get through the first season but haven't started the second. One reason I find I can't really enjoy the scripts is because I still do not understand much of the directions and formatting. If anyone could supply me with an explanation of these things it would be greatly appreciated.

SierraGulf1
December 29th, 2005, 06:28 PM
Anything in particular? I was confused at first as well, and I'm still getting my bearings even after having written 2.09, but for the most part I can explain the terminology. Let's see, some commonly misunderstood ones:

"INT. HORIZON-CONTROL ROOM"
The INT. stands for an interior-set scene. EXT. would stand for an exterior scene. So the aforementioned scene would take place inside the Horizon control room. There can be INT/EXT markings at times, but let's not get into that.

"(beat)"
A beat is simply a short pause, usually intended for dramatic purposes.

"Establishing shot"
A scene usually used to determine the location of the following scene. In Horizon script it'll usually be Horizon itself. Think of those outside shots of Cheyenne Mountain on SG1.

Those are the only ones I can think of at the moment. I'll elaborate on more if you wish to specify. :)

Alex Rubit
December 29th, 2005, 07:12 PM
I started reading Horizon pretty close to the start of the first season. I really enjoyed the stories and they are very engaging but I often feel the script format hard to get into. I've managed to get through the first season but haven't started the second. One reason I find I can't really enjoy the scripts is because I still do not understand much of the directions and formatting. If anyone could supply me with an explanation of these things it would be greatly appreciated.

I'm glad you've enjoyed the first season. It would greatly help if you could specify on what exactly it is of which you're not sure of what it means. We don't actually use too many "technical" descriptions. A term that I can think of right now would be (CONT'D), which just stands for "continued". That's used if a character speaks who had just previously spoken, meaning there might have been a pause between the dialogue or some kind of action might have taken place before the character continues speaking. It doesn't necessarily mean the dialogue goes on without a break. However, lately we're actually not using that anymore (makes matters much easier ;) ). The reason for that is that this particular note is something that's no longer required in scripts. It used to be, but it's really become something a writer can either choose to make use of or not. The only event in which it's always used is if a character's speach continues on a new page (meaning it's spread across two pages). So, with the latest episodes you'll find a lot less (CONT'D) references. Not sure how many people noticed that, but that happened intentionally.

But feel free to specify on what exactly you've been having trouble understanding, and we'll gladly explain it.

Aris Boch
December 29th, 2005, 09:23 PM
I had made assumptions about a lot of the things above. I assume V.O is voice over and P.O.V is point of view? I am also not very sure about a lot of the cuts, eg. smash cut. And I don't understand why some words are in complete uppercase.

lionel_pendergast_rocks
December 30th, 2005, 04:52 AM
Well, the words in upper case are basically meant to be noticed, and are important to the scene, am i right, Alex? Also, in SGH scripts, characters names are capitalized the first time they appear in an episode.

I really havent figured out what a smash cut is, though.

Elite Anubis Guard
December 30th, 2005, 07:21 AM
It'd be something like a sudden cut or if something actually "fits" the camera. I think.

NoDot
December 30th, 2005, 08:03 AM
"Smash..." is when they cut immediately and quickly to something. A "Smash to Black" would be an immediate change to black, probably accompanied by something in the musical score.

Also, I'm still not so sure about the Establishing Shots. Why would you need to re-establish a location?

SierraGulf1
December 30th, 2005, 08:28 AM
To be honest, sometimes to you don't. It's really up to the writer whether or not to use it, but it makes it more clear on camera and is usually done at the beginning of an episode.

You're correct, V.O. would be the speaker saying things over the action. A very common example of that is in flashbacks and "Previously On..."s.

You mentioned a few cuts you were confused about. One that comes to mind is the intercut. This is a quick transaction to another scene for a short period of time. Hard to explain. If two characters are speaking on a viewing screen or radio, you might see a quick flash to one of the characters talking, and then cut back to the other.

NoDot
December 30th, 2005, 08:31 AM
To be honest, sometimes to you don't. It's really up to the writer whether or not to use it, but it makes it more clear on camera and is usually done at the beginning of an episode.I can see a need for establishing something once during an episode and if you're going from one location to another (planet to planet), but if you'd already established a location and you're still there, why would you need to reestablish a location.

SierraGulf1
December 30th, 2005, 09:18 AM
You usually wouldn't. Re-establish just means that you're coming back to a location from earlier in the episode, not from the last scene.

The only time, I think, that Horizon has re-established a location that we just saw was in "Parti Pris," and that was to show passage of time.

Arctic Goddess
December 30th, 2005, 12:34 PM
Just a suggestion:

Why not post a "Dictionary" of the industry terms used in the scripts and their meanings somewhere on the Horizon homepage?

SierraGulf1
December 30th, 2005, 06:02 PM
Good idea. I actually think I started working on one once.

Alex Rubit
December 31st, 2005, 01:31 PM
Also, I'm still not so sure about the Establishing Shots. Why would you need to re-establish a location?

In a lot of television shows locations are re-established all of the time. Just take the SGC on SG-1 and Atlantis on Atlantis. You might see the location at the beginning of an episode, then perhaps again at the beginning of the first act, or just when we cut back after having had a scene or sequence take place at another location.

"Re-establishing" is just the term that's used for doing that. Technically you can just refer to it as "establishing" or "establishing shot" several times rather than calling it "re-establishing". Either way it just works better than saying "We see Horizon again" or something like that.

I guess the term can raise some questions if someone's not familiar with it, but whenever there's an establishing or re-establishing shot, we just see a particular location again to establish where the next scene or scenes will be taking place.

Alex Rubit
December 31st, 2005, 01:37 PM
Well, the words in upper case are basically meant to be noticed, and are important to the scene, am i right, Alex? Also, in SGH scripts, characters names are capitalized the first time they appear in an episode.

I really havent figured out what a smash cut is, though.

Words in upper case are usually important aspects of the scene; i.e. a prop, a certain look or sometimes feel. Sound effects are usually in upper case as well. Again, this is a rule that can be twisted a bit, since some writers might tend to capitalize more than others. On TV shows it's just a matter of what the format of the particular show is, and as a new writer you'd simply adapt to that.

What's always capitalized is a character's first appearance in a script. Not the mention of a character's name, but a character's first physical appearance. The exception are non-speaking parts, unless they play a crucial role in the scene. If they're just background extras, they're entrance is not capitalized.

A smash cut is just a quick cut from one scene to another. It's the same as a hard cut. It's like a regular cut, just more "extreme" and quicker.

Alex Rubit
December 31st, 2005, 01:40 PM
It'd be something like a sudden cut or if something actually "fits" the camera. I think.

Something that fits the camera is a "match-cut", if that's what you mean. It might be that we hold on a character, while switching from one location to another. Basically some aspect of the frame has to stay the same, be it a character or just the background.

Then there's a dissolve, which is a slow transicion from one scene to another, meaning we don't completely cut away, but the image slowly fades into the next scene. That's often used to show the passage of time aswell.

NoDot
December 31st, 2005, 02:26 PM
In a lot of television shows locations are re-established all of the time. Just take the SGC on SG-1 and Atlantis on Atlantis. You might see the location at the beginning of an episode, then perhaps again at the beginning of the first act, or just when we cut back after having had a scene or sequence take place at another location.

"Re-establishing" is just the term that's used for doing that. Technically you can just refer to it as "establishing" or "establishing shot" several times rather than calling it "re-establishing". Either way it just works better than saying "We see Horizon again" or something like that.

I guess the term can raise some questions if someone's not familiar with it, but whenever there's an establishing or re-establishing shot, we just see a particular location again to establish where the next scene or scenes will be taking place.No, what I'm talking about is a case where you (I'm pretty sure this was done in the Horizon S2 premier episdoes at least once) have a scene in a location, and then go and establish that location again for no real reason.

Alex Rubit
December 31st, 2005, 03:26 PM
No, what I'm talking about is a case where you (I'm pretty sure this was done in the Horizon S2 premier episdoes at least once) have a scene in a location, and then go and establish that location again for no real reason.

There's always some reason for establishing or re-establishing a location. That could have only been to either show the passage of time or maybe you're referring to an event where Horizon was re-established between two scenes that take place on the station, but in different locations on the station, say the briefing room and Callen's office. That's nothing uncommon, and again usually to show the passage of time.

If you could give me the exact point in the episode that you're referring to, I'm sure I could elaborate.

Alex Rubit
December 31st, 2005, 03:31 PM
Just a suggestion:

Why not post a "Dictionary" of the industry terms used in the scripts and their meanings somewhere on the Horizon homepage?

That's a very good idea. Again, we don't use too many technical descriptions. One that we've left out so far is ND (non-descript), which you normally use for extras in the background; i.e. ND technicians or ND crewmembers. That tells the casting department basically that it doesn't matter if those people are male, female, or what exactly they need to look like. People you see in the background are usually ND extras.

One thing someone asked me about was "sotto", which is sometimes in parenthesis when a character speaks. That just means the character is speaking in a low or quiet voice, but not whispering. It's Italian, and short for "sotto voce", which means "quiet voice" or "low voice". It's very common in scripts actually.

So, yeah, we might just start working on a "dictionary" like that, and add it to the website. There's actually lots of things that need to be added to the site, like say that omnipedia we've been talking about for the last few months. It will be there, definitely at some point in 2006. ;)

NoDot
January 1st, 2006, 09:53 AM
I'm thinking that's something that SG:U might want to put up.

Also, I did a search through the first two episodes of the second season last night and I didn't find one. I might look through the other episodes later.

SierraGulf1
January 1st, 2006, 06:24 PM
Yeah, if the different series writers wanted to put together a comprehensive guide, that would certainly be effective.:daniel:

Elite Anubis Guard
January 2nd, 2006, 12:35 AM
I had meant Hit, but I did a typo...