[question mark graphic]I’m struggling with how to format (another way to say procrastinating on telling the story) a rather large location. It’s a massive complex that has all kinds of sub-locations. Some scenes take place inside a PENTHOUSE APARTMENT inside the complex, some in a BOARDROOM, some in a FACTORY, etc.

Would it be better to say:

  • INT. COMPANY COMPLEX — BOARDROOM — DAY
  • Action, action, action.
  • INT. COMPANY COMPLEX — PENTHOUSE — DAY
  • Action, action, action.
  • or
  • INT. COMPANY COMPLEX — DAY
  • BOARDROOM.
  • Things happen. Blah, blah, blah.
  • In the PENTHOUSE -

etc?

I’m sure either is fine, but the first doesn’t feel right. And the second feels like I have a single giant scene, when it’s really a bunch of smaller scenes. Any insights would be great.

– Trey
Dallas, TX

Unless there’s a reason you could expect the reader to get confused, try to keep the location scene headers short. You could probably omit the “COMPANY COMPLEX” in all of these examples, or at least find a simpler way to distinguish it. For example, if the company in question was named SuperCorp, you could simply label it “INT. SUPERCORP BOARDROOM – DAY” and leave it at that.

(But if the movie never goes to any other corporation, just leave it at “boardroom”.)

In cases where you’re going to be intercutting between two environments which have similar-sounding rooms, then yes, it is a good idea to be specific. The classic case is when you have dueling ships, each with their own bridge, engine room, etc. Then, INT. NAUTILUS – GALLEY – DAY makes a lot of sense.