In a script, phone calls can be a very important ingredient because it connects storys together. Phone call in a movie script can serve as many things such as, Suspense, Connection, Comedy, Movie Crisis, Resolution and so on.
A phone call is when one character speaks to another over the phone. In a scene where characters are not having physical contact, the easiest means of communication is a phone call. There is a technique to write a phone conversation. As a writer, it is very important to have knowledge of how to write a telephone Conversation.
Although to most writers, the format of a phone call can be sometimes confusing. But in this article format of a phone call will be discussed. At the end of this article, you should be able to know how you will be able to create a standard phone call format yourself.
Format Of Phone Call
Mostly, two characters are always involved in a phone call. It is up to the writer to determine who the audience sees and what they hear depending on the story or what information the writer is trying to pass across.
When in the process of developing your script there is a need to write a phone conversation between characters you should be much more ready to comfortably write them in a standard way which will be discussed below.
There are different formats of writing a phone call in scriptwriting. It depends on the character you need to focus the attention on or the type of script you’re writing.
- USING INTERCUT
Intercut is simply when a screenplay alternates from one scene location to another within splits of seconds. This is the most common way to set up a phone conversation. Using intercut, there will be the first scene (Master scene, Little description of the scene) such as the caller dialing a number on the phone. Then after the brief description, there will be another scene which will be the receiver’s (such as the other character going to pick the call). While in the second scene, Intercut must be added to alternates between two scenes. If the character is talking on the phone, add “(into phone)” right under the character’s name as shown below.
2. USING EXTENSION
This is another technique that can be used if the writer feels it is important we hear both sides of the story but the receiver’s scene is less important. In a script, If it’s important we hear the receiver’s dialogue but if the writer doesn’t want to show the scene, an extension “(V.O)” should be used. It will be beside the character’s name (receiver’s name) then the parenthetical, “(over phone, filtered)” must be added. All these script languages will tell the reader that (V.O)- the receiver is not in the scene location, (over phone, filtered)- we can hear the receiver’s voice over the phone which won’t be clearer than the caller who is in the scene.
Note:- Do not use the Off-Screen (O.S) extension. This extension is only used if the character is in the scene location but not in front of the camera.
3. USING PARENTHETICAL
Another creative way writers can make a phone call scene is if the writer does not want to show the other scene (phone call receiver’s scene) which is also widely used. Simply add the Parenthetical tool “beat” when the character (caller), this will only show the caller’s scene. The caller will be listening and also be reacting. In this kind of situation the “beat” should be added to this will neglect the receivers scene if the writer feel the dialogue of the receiver won’t contribute to the development of the play.
The above are the different formats writers can use to create a phone conversation scene. Before making any of these formats it is important to know the message you want to pass to the audience. After forming our dialogue, you can choose between the above format.