I am a fifteen year old living just outside of Washington, D.C. I hope to one day be a television producer, but also a film screenwriter. Thanks for your advice about writing the scenes I want to write (not necessarily in order) on paper before typing them on the computer. I felt stupid not thinking about that, but once I used that technique, the first draft of my screenplay came together in about three weeks!
Anyway, I’m not really trying to give a testimonial here, just asking a question and giving my thanks, so here goes: I’m writing the second draft of my screenplay, and I have a slugline situation. For the master, could I write “INT. BARNES AND NOBLE – NIGHT” instead of “INT. BOOKSTORE – NIGHT”. I thought that maybe giving a specific location, even if it wasn’t shot there, would add more of a realism, or connection, with the reader. Even if there’s simply a little bit more of a connection. Is there any con-side of doing this?
Your instinct is right: being a little more specific helps the reader immediately understand the location, and saves you from having to throw a line of scene description explaining what kind of bookstore it is.
The only case where the comes back to bite you is when the line producer calls you, frantic: “We can’t get Barnes and Noble! It won’t fit the schedule! You have to rewrite the scene!” And so you end up spitting out colored revision pages that waste everyone’s time.
That’s why I tend to split the difference when I can. Instead of “BOOKSTORE” or “BARNES AND NOBLE,” try “CHAIN BOOKSTORE.” The reader gets what you are trying to say, and the line producer won’t hyperventilate.
For Shazam!, I just wrote a scene that takes place “INT. STARBUCK’S-LIKE COFFEE SHOP.” It should be clear to the line producer, production designer and everyone else that it doesn’t have to be Starbucks. It just needs that vibe.