Screenwriting

Screenwriting: How to Write a Montage in a Screenplay

writing a montage in a script

Montages are essential parts of scripts. They tell stories without dialogs. So what is the perfect way to write a montage? I must say there are several ways to write it. But first let me explain to you what a montage means.

In simple terms “A montage is a series of shots, edited together to show many events happening in a short period of time.” Montages are necessary to help the story move forward, at the same time keeping it in pace of the script. 

Montage was introduced by soviet film director Sergei Eisentein in the early 20th century. Since then the idea behind it has remained the same. However, technological advances in the last 20 years have made it more interesting to write. 

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As screenwriter John August says on his screenwriting blog

There’s no hard and fast rule for how to format montages in a screenplay.” 

As long as you are able to explain the scenes you have imagined through the script, it’s fine. There are a couple of formatting techniques while writing a montage though. Let’s see what they are:

  1. Montage in a Single Location
  2. Montage in Multiple Locations
  3. Writing a Flashback Montage
  4. When to use a Montage

1. Montage in a Single Location

The scene takes place in the same location. Here is an example of a script below:

You can even use dashes like these:

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2. Montage in Multiple Locations

The montage of Rocky Balboa training in the Rocky movie, is one of the best montage scenes ever. A perfect example of multiple location montage.

Another example I have written here just for the sake of explaining:

Pixar’s UP movie has a wonderful montage in it too. Take a look at this:  

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3. Writing a Flashback Montage

There are a couple of ways to do it. Many people prefer to write scene headers too. Here’s one way to write below:

There’s no need to write END OF MONTAGE again. 

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4. When to use a Montage

Montage can be used in training sequences, trying on clothes in a designer store, emotional scenes. They have to be used carefully, and not just increase the speed of the story. Sometimes it’s better to let the director decide. So completely skipping writing a montage is fine even if you think it’s required.

5. Conclusion

It’s up to you how to write it and when to write it. Just remember, it’s important to keep it simple. 

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