PRE-LAPS & CHYRONS

By David Trottier

STARTING THE SCENE BEFORE THE SCENE

QUESTION
I am at the end of a scene and have a character from the upcoming scene who says something before we cut to that scene the character is in. How do I format that?

ANSWER
There are two ways, and I'll illustrate with two examples. In the first, use a voice over.

                  DARA (V.O.)
        You look like Bozo the Clown.

INT. ALFONSO'S ROOM - DAY

Alfonso frowns at Dara, long red hair streaming from the sides of his head and bald on top, kind of like... well, Bozo the Clown.

As you can see, Dara's line is actually said in Alfonso's room, but for effect, we hear it before we cut to the room. It's a sound transition from one scene to the next and it's perfectly "legal" in a spec script.

The second method is exactly the same, except you replace the V.O. with the term PRE-LAP.

If the sound is not dialogue, you can use the PRE-LAP as follows:

PRE-LAP - A dog BARKS followed by a SCREAM and a CRASH.

INT. ALFONSO'S KITCHEN - DAY

Alfonso lies on his back -- a St. Bernard licking his face. Grocery bags are scattered across the floor.

FOR CHYRON OUT LOUD

QUESTION
What is a chyron? [Pronounced KY-run.]

ANSWER
It's the caption superimposed anywhere on a television or movie screen. Thus, it's handled much like a superimposition (SUPER):

CHYRON: "Did I just say that?"

You could also format it as you would a text message, if you prefer.

The term also refers to the text-based graphics that appear at the bottom of your TV during a news broadcast.

Keep writing!