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Counting Off-Screen Characters

Treatment Format
One of my associates and I were discussing what a treatment entails and its format. We are both novices when it comes to movie scripts. If possible, could someone please E-mail me as to what is the correct format for a treatment, what does it include, etc.?

Contributed by Glen Berry

If I have a character that has one line in one scene and a second line Off-screen (O.S.) in a different scene - how do I count that on the cast report in reference to Character/Dialogues/Speaking Scenes/Total Scenes?

You want to include the O.S. dialogue as a speaking scene and the character being in that scene. A smart AD will look at that and consult with the director on how that will be done. On a full budget production, you’d bring the actor into a sound studio and record the dialogue “wild” (without sync). However, with limited access to actors and in the interest in cost effectiveness you might just do it on the set. The actor, director and sound mixer will record the audio on the spot before the actor leaves for the day. That also helps get the correct ambience.

Berry started his career as an editor and post production supervisor, having worked on documentaries for PBS and The Discovery Channel. Berry’s award-winning short fiction, documentary and experimental films have screened at festivals around the world. His first feature film secured a rare worldwide distribution deal and received a limited theatrical release.

The publisher of Film Underground and founder of Northwest Film School, Berry has taught production at Western Washington University and Whatcom Community College. Berry was awarded a Master of Arts in Production and Direction from the National University of Ireland and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Media and Theatre Arts from Montana State University.

Berry’s academic work has been published in scholarly journals as well as trade publications such as MovieMaker Magazine, CyberFilmSchool.com and FilmFestivals.com as well as The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Filmmaking. He is the publisher of Film Underground and has served as an expert source for international newspaper and radio media outlets. Berry twice served as the Director of the Northwest Projections Film Festival and as a panel judge on numerous festivals and competitions.

Glen Berry is the Director of the Northwest Film School where he teaches directing, producing and editing. He has specialized in creative editing and post production techniques with independent film. His interests include the cognitive functions of the mind as it applies to motion picture editing as well as new forms of communications in the visual arts.

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