Parallel action, a dynamic storytelling technique used masterfully by filmmakers like Christopher Nolan, can significantly heighten the drama and tension in a screenplay. But the question arises: how do you effectively capture this on paper?
Writing Parallel Action in a Script
Parallel action involves depicting two or more sequences of events happening simultaneously. To write this effectively in a screenplay, you use scene headings for each location, followed by an “INTERCUT” to indicate the cross-cutting between scenes.
While intercutting is commonly used in phone conversations, it’s equally effective in action sequences, limited only by your creativity.
Examples from Popular Scripts
Let’s examine how parallel action is utilized in well-known scripts:
- The Matrix (1999): The screenplay introduces both scenes separately before intercutting, enhancing the tension and pacing of the narrative.
- The Dark Knight (2008): This script incorporates parallel action as part of the action lines, demonstrating that clarity is key, regardless of the formatting style.
- Writing Montages: A Simple Guide for Every Situation
- How Pro Screenwriters Cash In Today?
- Crafting Impactful Screenplay Quotes: A Guide
- How to Write a Captivating Video Game Script
- Facial Expressions in Screenplays (with Examples)
- How to Get Your Screenplay Read (Producers, Agents, and Actors)
- How to Write Emotions in Screenplays (Examples)
- How to Introduce Multiple Characters at Once in a Script
- Jump Cuts In Screenplay: Everything You Need to Know
- Crafting Suspense: Tips for Thriller Screenwriting