The visual effects in CHARLIE’S ANGELS are dazzling. Did you write this into the script, or was it the work of the director? Could you please advise on how to write those slow motion shots?
The writer’s job is to communicate whatever is seen or heard on screen, and that includes effects. The best way to do this is usually to visualize the scene in your head, and do the best job you can describing it efficiently and compellingly.
Obviously, the director, along with the cinematographer and visual effects supervisor, are going to have the final say about what the effects look like. But until these people come along, the writer is all those jobs, so you need to do what you can.
Regarding slow motion, we’ll start with a lesson in cinematography. To achieve slow-motion, the camera runs at a speed faster than the usual 24 frames per second, often at an even increment like 48 or 96 frames per second. Then, when the film is played back at normal speed (24 fps), the action appears to be slowed down. More than that: it often has a somewhat dreamy, sexy quality that makes car crashes and pretty-girls-getting-out-of-pools extra appealing.
In order to achieve this effect in a screenplay, I add extra vowels and consonants to words. So instead of writing:
The Thug fires four rounds at Maxwell.
Thheee Thhhuugg ffiirrees fooouurr rrrounds attt Maxxxxwweelllll.
I’m kidding. Please don’t do this.
Instead, at the start of a scene that really, really needs to be slow-motion to make sense, I’ll add the phrase, “in SLOW-MOTION,” to one of the action sentences. So the sentence might read, “In SLOW-MOTION, the Thug fires off four rounds at Maxwell, whose fingers just reach the button in time.”
In the CHARLIE’S ANGELS: FULL THROTTLE, I wrote:
Handing off an UNCONSCIOUS MAN to PARAMEDICS, firefighter Alex pulls off her helmet to set loose a slow-motion cascade of black hair.
That time I didn’t capitalize “slow-motion,” because there were already a lot of words in all-caps. And I’ve been known to write, “in super bad-ass slow-motion” if that’s really the feeling I’m going for.