When is a phone call not just a phone call? When you have to show it, not tell it. There are at least three different scenarios to consider when you want to insert a telephone conversation in your screenplay. We asked Screenwriter Doug Richardson (“Bad Boys,” “Hostage,” “Die Hard 2”) how he approaches telephone conversations in his screenplays, and he said there are three things to consider:
Are we seeing and hearing only one character?
Are we seeing only one character, but hearing at least two?
Are we seeing and hearing both characters?
Give this some thought: It may be important to see both characters, perhaps because they’re doing something that matters to the story.
Or maybe, we only need to see and hear one character, and their action in the scene speaks volumes on its own. Determine what type of phone call scenario will be strongest in your story.
Once you’ve settled on how to show the phone call, learn how to write that scene in a traditional script. And guess what? We’ve got blogs for that! Here are three tutorials depending on your story’s scenario:
Don’t phone it in,