I’m piecing together a climax sequence that takes place in a park, with dozens of cuts back and forth between four main characters as they perform different activities at different locations within the park. Is there an efficient way to format this without creating a new, full slugline for each cut, and without using too many CUT TOs?
Make friends with the slugline. That’s a single line, all in caps, which tells the reader that you’re focusing on something new. Here’s an example from CHARLIE’S ANGELS: FULL THROTTLE:
(Note: If the following text has bullet points, you need to clear your cache. On the Mac, hold down the command key while you press the Reload button on the toolbar.)
All eight "real" RACERS attack the course like modern-day charioteers, SLAMMING down each hill and SPRAYING dirt like shrapnel.
Some OFFICIALS try to stop Dylan, but she ROARS onto the course.
IN THE STANDS
Alex sloughs off her cotton candy and runs along the lowest walkway, trying to keep Dylan in sight.
ON THE SIDELINE
Natalie grabs an available bike and helmet, ready to join in the race.
ON THE COURSE
The pack is nearing the first turn. Emmers has the lead, with the Man in Black moving up quickly. Boxed in between two other racers, the Man suddenly
one guy out of his way. The unsuspecting cyclist crashes in the dirt. This is no ordinary race.
At the fence, Stern YELLS into his wrist-mike:
Carter! Kalakana! Get up here now!
THE MAN IN BLACK
reaches into his jacket pocket, pulling out an antique revolver. As he closes the gap on Emmers, he starts to take aim. With both cycles heading up and down hills, it's difficult to get a line-of-sight, but their jumps are finally synchronized.
Sometimes, even those single sluglines can be too much, so you might consider embedding them into paragraphs.
Also from Full Throttle:
As the truck falls, we move into SUPER-SLOW MOTION. There’s a lot to cover:
IN THE CAB, we watch as the truck’s nose tips straight down to the floor of the canyon one thousand feet below. Keeping her cool, Dylan grabs the glowing tube and climbs out her door.
IN THE BACK, Alex RIPS open a nylon duffel bag. She pulls out an armful of silk. Clinging to the truck wall, Natalie KICKS loose the wheel chucks. The mysterious fan unit floats freely in the truck.
ON THE DAM, the men watch as the truck falls. The angels may have escaped their reach, but they won’t escape their death. The ARTILLERIST aims the rocket launcher.
IN THE BACK, Alex lets the silk fly. It WHIPS out of her hands, unfurling as a small parachute. Natalie pulls a ripcord, which starts up the massive fan blades.
Dylan climbs into the cargo area.
Meanwhile, the small parachute begins to pull out a much larger canopy, a massive rectangular wing of fabric.
ON THE DAM, the artillerist has a bead on the falling truck. He squeezes the trigger, launching a WHISTLING RPG.
IN THE TRUCK, the angels grab onto handholds near the fan unit. They see the missile coming.
THE CANOPY extends to full berth, yanking taught a web of cables. The whole fan assembly flies out the back of the truck just moments before
THE RPG HITS.
The truck EXPLODES in a fireball that continues to fall towards the canyon floor. We LOOK UP to see
THE CANOPY, where the angels dangle from the crossbars of the suspended fan unit. We get our first good look at the vehicle, a type of ultra-light aircraft that resembles an Everglades swamp boat gone aerial.
ON THE DAM, the men watch with furious awe as the strange craft begins to fly up from the base of the canyon, catching the rising drafts. It’s heading into the sunset.
However you choose to do it, remember that you’re writing for the reader, not the director. You want to create the action sequence that feels most exciting on the page, even if the sequence of events isn’t exactly how you ultimately think a director will stage it.