My script involves a “spirit” or “ghost” character. He can appear to people on a whim, and he says typical meta-clever, wise stuff. The thing is, he’s beyond all time and space, so, for example, he can be in two places at once.
I want to create a scene where this spirit character is talking to two different characters at the same time, but in different places. In other words, the spirit is talking to both Alan in Cleveland and Betsy in Los Angeles, but it occurs at 2:00PM at the same time (ignoring the time zone changes). What would be the most effective way to do that?
You’re confusing what happens inside the world of the movie with what the audience experiences. When we’re watching a movie, or reading a script, we don’t know or care what the clock says — unless you tell us that it is important.
If for story purposes two scenes need to be happening simultaneously, you’ll generally be cutting between them. Max runs up the stairs while Lisa sits down at her desk. Max reaches the fourth floor while Lisa wakes her computer. Max reaches Lisa’s door just as she’s about to open the email message. That’s six short scenes which play together as a sequence.
Alternately, you might sync up time after the fact by replaying a moment or giving some other signal to the audience about a shift in time. GO does this twice, repeating the scene in the break room to let the story fork in different directions. 1
Split-screen is another possibility, though on the page you’d almost certainly write it as typical cross-cutting.
- Go also features two sides of a phone conversation separated by half a movie, but it’s not crucial to line up those moments. ↩