I got this email today:
I’m having trouble presenting a multiple location event in my screenplay. Let’s say, for example, there are 5 peace rallies in 5 US cities all going on at the same time. At each event there is some action and dialogue. We stay only briefly at each location. How the heck is that written? Every way I try to present it seems awkward. Thanks for your time.
Here’s how I replied. I think one reason it’s awkward is that the situation isn’t very conducive to good story telling. It’s hard to create conflict, or reveal much character, or tell a story, while cutting back and forth between five very similar events. My first bit of advice would be to restructure your story so you DON’T have to cut between five nearly identical events. But, barring that, you need to make it as simple as you can.
EXT. LOS ANGELES PEACE RALLY – DAY
Griffith Park is crowded with THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE (don’t you just love CGI? How did people make movies before?) It’s pouring rain. Biff and Joan make love in the mud while everyone around them sings Koombaya. Joan has great breasts. INTERCUT WITH:
EXT. CHICAGO PEACE RALLY – NIGHT
Convention Center. There are TENS OF THOUSANDS of peace-loving people here. But we don’t care about them. We FIND Jake creeping under the stage, carrying the BOMB that’s hidden inside the
INFLATABLE WOMAN. She has great breasts, too. INTERCUT WITH:
INT. SEATTLE PEACE RALLY – DAY
Hundreds of people mill around the base of the SPACE NEEDLE, holding hands and chanting. We PAN UP to the observation tower of the Space Needle, where HOYT, 12, is about to pour a cup of STARBUCK COFFEE on the people below, some of whom have great breasts and some of whom don’t. INTERCUT WITH:
and when you’re done visiting your five locations (I am exhausted just thinking about it), you end the sequence with a simple END INTERCUT.