Screenwriting Blog
Posted on by Victoria Lucia

Scene Description Examples

While writing scene descriptions, I aim to make them interesting, understandable, and vivid. The scene descriptions should subtly strive to capture the reader's attention and draw them further into the world of a script.

But you also want a reader to be able to breeze through your script; you don't want them to be bogged down by too much description.

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So how do you write an effective scene description? What are the best tips and tricks? Keep reading to learn more about scene descriptions through a variety of scene description examples.

Scene Description Examples

What is scene description?

The scene description is the text below a scene heading that describes what is happening in the scene.

Things to consider when writing scene descriptions include:

  • What is happening in the scene?

  • Who are the characters in the scene?

  • What are we seeing in this scene?

  • What does the scene feel like? What is the tone?

How do you write a scene description?

When writing a scene description, it's important to provide the reader with just enough information to picture the scene without going overboard.

These are the components that you should consider when writing scene descriptions.


Where and when is the scene taking place? What's the location? Do the location and time of day impact the scene?


What characters are in the scene, and what are they doing?


Are the character's talking? What are they saying? How does the conversation affect the scene?


What is physically going on in this scene? What are the characters doing?

Camera shots

While you may or may not want to include camera directions in your script, thinking about scene descriptions in terms of what the camera sees can be extremely helpful. This is especially useful for overwriters. If you're overly descriptive, considering what the camera is seeing at that moment can help you write shorter and more to-the-point scene descriptions.

What are the scene descriptions called in a screenplay?

Scene descriptions in a screenplay are often called action, description, or action lines. They're typically written in the present tense to convey a sense of immediacy to the reader and are separated from the dialogue and character names.

Tips for Writing Scene Headings

When it comes down to writing scene headings, you want to consider the following:

Be specific

When describing the context and location of a scene, specificity is key. You might write "INT. JILL'S LIVING ROOM - NIGHT" instead of "INT. HOUSE." This can help clarify locations and give the reader a better understanding of the scene's atmosphere.

Keep it simple

When writing scene headings, it's best to be precise and concise. Don't be overly descriptive in scene headings; they should be bare bones. Use as few words as you can to get your point across.


Scene headings should always be written in full caps to stand out.  

Adhere to the correct formatting

You want to ensure that you format scene headings correctly. Poor formatting can be distracting when someone is reading your script. Place the location and time of day apart with a dash. When using SoCreate, scene headings will be automatically formatted based on your Location stream item selections (inside/outside, day/night/dusk/etc.).

To learn more about scene headings, how to format them, or what should be included in them, check this past blog that delved more into how to write scene headings.  

Scene Description Examples

To see scene descriptions in action, let's look at some scene descriptions from the opening scenes of popular movies!

Script Snippet - "Moonlight" by Barry Jenkins


A bright Miami day. Or what we can see of it: our gaze fixed, looking into the front windshield of a wide, vintage car (think 60s, American).

At the wheel, find JUAN (30's, some sort of Afro-Latino thing about him) pulling towards us and coming to a stop. Behind him, a shady, rundown apartment building abuts the road, three boys standing outside it.

Juan cuts his engine, exits the car, and begins across the street. The boys tense up as Juan approaches, make room as he continues all the way over to the brick wall behind them.

Script Snippet - "Annihilation" by Alex Garland


- blackness, and stars.

In the stars, a lump of rock and ice, moving through space, leaving a trail of dust and ice crystals.

Locked deep inside the ice, blue-green iridescence.

Rotate around the METEOR, to reveal –

- the MOON.

Float past the bone-white orb, over the Sea Of Tranquility, to reveal –

- Earth. Blue-green jewel.

Race towards the planet.

Start to blaze as we hit the atmosphere.

Lighting up like phosphorus.

Script Snippet - "Little Women" by Greta Gerwig


JO MARCH, our heroine, hesitates.

In the half-light of a dim hallway, she exhales and prepares, her head bowed like a boxer about to go into the ring. She puts her hand on the doorknob. A pause, and then, she opens it onto a disorderly room.

It is full of men. Some sit with their feet up on the desks, higher than their hats, which they do not remove for her. They smoke and read, hardly noticing that she has walked in.

Jo walks through the desks, looking for one in particular.

Ideally, everything in your script should flow together to tell the story. Your scene descriptions should support you rather than take up too much space on the page. All too often in writing, less is more. I hope these tips and examples help you the next time you find yourself writing scene descriptions! Happy writing!

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