This is an easy one. But with today’s computers being such a part of our lives I understand why you would want to ask. Just to make sure.
How do you write a computer screen in a screenplay? You write a computer screen in a screenplay by writing in all caps as a subheading “COMPUTER SCREEN” Then write what’s on the screen. Followed by “BACK TO SCENE.”
Sarah rushes over and swivels into a computer chair.
The CURSER runs over to the photos folder. Double clicks. Up pops john with Racheal in a steamy photo.
BACK TO SCENE
Sarah leans back devastated.
Yes, of course, there are many ways of doing this but the example above is the most common.
Sarah rushes over and swivels into a computer chair. On the COMPUTER Double clicks. Up pops john with Racheal in a steamy photo. Sarah leans back devastated.
Example number two in my opinion is better because it doesn’t intrude on the reader’s eyes. It comes more naturally because on the surface it’s just another action line.
Which way should you choose? It depends on what type of film your writing.
If in your movie the computer screen is like a character itself like in Unfreinded (2014) Then going with the first option makes sense.
Now if it’s just a one-off thing, example two would suit your script better.
Let’s look at one example where the computer is treated as a character.
Computer Screen in a Screenplay Example
One of the most popular examples is from Lana and Lilly Wachowski’s break-out hit movie The Matrix (1999).
The movie starts with a computer screen. Check out how they wrote it below.
Let’s see how it appears on the screen.
Dam! that was good. If you haven’t seen it you should.
But since computers and phones are their main communication method it becomes necessary to treat them as such.
Got it, good.
Now its time to hear from you:
Did all your questions about computer screens in screenplays get answered?
Which way are you going to use and why?
Whatever your answer is let’s hear it in the comments below.