How should I incorporate titles regarding date, time, location, etc. into a script for the viewer to read on the screen when the movie is complete?


Anything that needs to be printed on screen (that is, it’s not part of the set or other design) is preceded by two magic words —


You then center whatever information you want to appear on screen, be it the location, the time, whatever. Unless you’re doing a long, Star Wars-style crawl, this should be all you need.

For GO, there was a “RONNA” at the head of her section. In the second CHARLIE’S ANGELS, one title read:


As opposed to Southern Mongolia, which is totally different.

That said, you probably don’t need to label every new location you visit, a la “The X-Files”. Always ask yourself whether the moment would be just as clear without printing anything on the screen. And you certainly shouldn’t include any titles that are really just credits, such as “A FILM BY DJ SMITH.” (And frankly, I believe no one should ever use that credit, because it cheapens the contribution of everyone else who worked on the film.)

Some writers really frown on using titles, because they feel that it’s the director’s prerogative whether or not they’re needed. I disagree. If it helps the reader understand the flow of the story, and makes the script read more like the final movie you want to make, by all means use them.