Did you know that 73% of movies made have some party scene? Whether that be a barbecue, dance party, sleepover, club scene, dinner party, you name it.
It’s a great way to see how your protagonist reacts and responds emotionally in an environment with many unfamiliar people. It puts pressure on your character and is responsible for a lot of amazing scenes in movies.
How do you write a party scene in a screenplay? You write a party scene by writing one sentence for each image of what the audience sees. Make sure you keep them short and use active verbs.
INT.WAREHOUSE PARTY - NIGHT
On the dance floor, sweaty, drunken TEENS coiled tightly together jump to the base of the music. On one side, a teen pours beer down throats on the other Two half-naked COUNTRY GIRLS wrestle in a pool of beer.
At the bar, SOFIE (28) the elder of the party, slams a shot glass down surrounded by a group horny teen boys.
SOFIE All drinks on me!
Notice how the above scene description of the warehouse party shows where people are in the building.
“On the dance floor, to the right, on the left, and at the bar.“
You want the reader to see everything, like a real estate pro showing a house to a couple.
Did you notice I didn’t say everything that’s happening?
I didn’t go into copious amounts of detail about what’s happening with the DJ, bartender, outside, etc. When describing a party scene or any scene with a large group of people, you only talk about the big important things.
Because this is a screenplay, not a novel.
Lastly, the emotion of the scene
I used action to show the craziness of the scene and to inform the reader of how long the people have been there.
sweaty, drunken teens
They’ve been there for a while, and they are doing illegal things.
coiled tightly together
jump to the base of the music
Everyone is enjoying themselves.
Short sweet and to the point.
Party Scene Examples From Screenplays
Below we have a few examples of parties from screenplays. We are starting with the Matrix.
You can see how anti-social Neo is by his actions and how confident Trinity is by hers. I also like how they describe the people in the party by using “jungle cats” and “shadow-like figures.” This scene is short and to the point.
Here is how it translated on screen.
Next, we have a party at “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
Like I used in my example, this script also specifies where things are coming from. “From the kitchen.”
Let’s see the scene from the movie.
Whats the Purpose of a Party Scene in a Screenplay?
The purpose of a party scene? It depends on when it takes place.
- It can be a great character introduction.
- A see how your main character reacts in an environment other than the ones we’ve seen them in previously.
There needs to be something that happens to lead to the next.
This is the basis of any scene in your script. But most importantly, it needs to move the story forward. If it doesn’t move the story forward in any meaningful way, then don’t write the party scene.
As screenwriters, we can’t think about what fantastic scenes to put in the movie. We have to think about what the character needs to do and exciting ways to show it.
Now its time to hear from you:
Why are you writing a party scene in your script?
What did you learn from this post that will help you write your scene?
Whatever your answers are, let’s hear them in the comments below.