Montages, Series of Shots and Sequences


How do screenwriters rapidly write a lot of story?

Montages, series of shots and sequences have been used since the inception of cinema to condense time, exposition and space. The terms have been used interchangeably, but there are subtle differences depending on where you studies film.

MONTAGES

These are typically shots in numerous locations referring to a central theme or concept. They are the fast forward button in the story and progress character and story by skipping the non-essential parts.

Montages function as a self-contained story unit and generally lack dialogue as they are a visual medium. They are often accompanied by music to enhance the mood and tones of the scenes.

A montage can even be a split screen or mosaic with numerous pictures presented at once.

A typical montage scene might be the following date scenario: Man waits nervously at restaurant table, fidgeting through his watch and reading the menu cover to cover. Finally his date arrives. He seats her, pours her a glass of wine followed by giggling and looking into others eyes. He whispers something in her ear. She slaps him, throws her remaining wine in his face and storms off.

A SERIES OF SHOTS

A series a more specific editing device used to speed up time rather than tell a complete story. Series occur in a single or limited number of locations. Consider the previous example of the date scene. The following is a series of shots: Guy shaving, guy in shower, guy straightening his tie in the mirror, guy splashing cologne on his face. There is no character growth or change here, only the compression of time.

A SCENE SEQUENCE

This is a hybrid of the two that really is a stand alone affair. It includes scenes like breaking into song and dance moves or extended car chases. It is purely for used for visual effect and entertainment value rather than to progress the story or demonstrate character change. It can be excised from the movie and the story will still make sense.

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