Author Topic: How do I write music in a scene? What rules apply?  (Read 791 times)

Danny

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How do I write music in a scene? What rules apply?
« on: September 27, 2013, 03:08:00 PM »
EXT. BASEMENT-NIGHT-FLASHBACK
MUSIC-SLOW VIOLIN-SAD
MIKE, 22, Stands over SARAH, 17, lifeless body. He holds a blood stained knife. A tear rolls down his cheek
Heavy knocking comes from upstairs, Mike startled.
MUSIC-STOPS


Is this acceptable?

Writer Arena

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Re: How do I write music in a scene? What rules apply?
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2013, 03:12:36 PM »
A slow, sad violin piece plays. MIKE, 22, Stands over SARAH, 17, lifeless body. He holds a blood stained knife.  A tear rolls down his cheek
Heavy knocking comes from upstairs, Mike startled.

I would say the only rule that applies is do you actually need the music to tell the story.  Too many unnecessary details slow down the read and frustrate the reader.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2013, 03:21:02 PM by Writer Arena »

Mo

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Re: How do I write music in a scene? What rules apply?
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2013, 04:36:28 PM »
You shouldn't put music in the scene unless it's literally playing there, and even then, only do it if it adds to what's happening. In your example, it seems as if it's part of the soundtrack and is more of the composer's choice rather than a writing choice. But if that's not the case, I'd do it as Michael suggested, although I would specify where the music is actually coming from. Good luck!

Danny

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Re: How do I write music in a scene? What rules apply?
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2013, 09:11:37 PM »
I don't mean music playing from a radio, I mean music that goes over the scene that's part of the picture. Like the music in Jaws, just before someone cops it and the shark swims through the water "ner-ner ner-ner ner-ner".Or the James Bond theme that we hear when he is chasing the bad guy?

Danny

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Re: How do I write music in a scene? What rules apply?
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2013, 09:19:12 PM »
Or does the writer not add the music?

Writer Arena

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Re: How do I write music in a scene? What rules apply?
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2013, 09:50:54 PM »
The writer can add music if it's important to the story.  But if it isn't important then it shouldn't be in your screenplay.

Think of it this way.  Pretend the music is a trash bin. 

You have a kitchen location, should you mention there's a trash bin in the kitchen?

Most people will immediately imagine a kitchen with a trash bin so you don't really need to mention it.  However, if there's an important document that was previously thrown out in that bin and the character needs to search for the document there, then you might want to mention it in the script because it's important to the story, someone will be digging through it later.

It's the same sort of logic for adding music.  If it's interacted with then you should probably mention it. Otherwise, it's really the director's choice - not the writer's.     

MikeBMC

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Re: How do I write music in a scene? What rules apply?
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2013, 12:05:27 PM »
I think the general rule is that you don't use music unless it's a specific song that has a purpose for the scene. For example if a couples favorite song in the script is Yakety Sax and they play it constantly then yes. If it's orchestrated score than no. The director and editors and all them guys do that. It's their job. You could throw it in there but I wouldn't. I know where you are coming from though. We all seem to want to direct as we write lol.

Manowar

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Re: How do I write music in a scene? What rules apply?
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2014, 05:43:35 PM »
Why are you even bothering with a musics core? If the drama of the scene doesn't capture the mood you're writing, then no score available will help you. It's not your job anyway, unless you're directing the movie and this is a production script. If you're simply the writer, and I mean that as no small quantity, forget musical scores, camera angles. etc.

Darryl Luster

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Re: How do I write music in a scene? What rules apply?
« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2014, 05:44:18 AM »
EXT. BASEMENT-NIGHT-FLASHBACK
MUSIC-SLOW VIOLIN-SAD
MIKE, 22, Stands over SARAH, 17, lifeless body. He holds a blood stained knife. A tear rolls down his cheek
Heavy knocking comes from upstairs, Mike startled.
MUSIC-STOPS


Is this acceptable?
Do you mean music being played from the radio. Or music being directed in the scene?
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Darryl Luster

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Re: How do I write music in a scene? What rules apply?
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2014, 06:22:51 AM »
This probably would be correct for you. Just create a new scene, Then repeat your first scene underneath this one:

You cannot use EXT. as a basement unless someone is trapped down below and the basement explodes and then take a portion of the house with it and leaving the person exposed to the outdoors and indoors.

This should work for you as a short flashback.

BEGIN FLASHBACK SEQUENCE

INT. BASEMENT - NIGHT

INT. SMALL TABLE  - RADIO - NIGHT
       
Slow violin plays a sad medley.

INT. BASEMENT - NIGHT

MIKE, 22, stands over SARAH, 17, lifeless body. He holds a blood stained knife. A tear rolls down his cheek.
Heavy knocking comes from upstairs, Mike startled.

Suddenly, the music stops.

END FLASHBLACK SEQUENCE
« Last Edit: October 01, 2014, 05:06:50 AM by Darryl Luster »
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