We see these all the time in scripts and movies alike but this isn’t something we normally think twice about. At least I didn’t while watching the last Captain America movie.
Captain America: Civil War to be exact. While watching there were these big white letters over the entire screen stating a new location or time period the film. That is called superimposition.
What is a superimposition? Superimposition normally used in a screenplay as “Superimpose” or “Super” is when letters are placed over the film.
It is used by the screenwriter or director to give valuable information he or she thinks the audience should know before the scene takes place.
In a screenplay like all the other tips on this site, there is a right and wrong way to this.
What information goes into a Super?
Supers can have any form of information that the screenwriter needs. Normally used to inform the reader of three things:
Some examples of these are below from the Captain America movie. They used at least 10 supers throughout the film because of the rapid movement to locations. Other ways to use supers are moments of time. For example “One Year Later” or “Moments Later.“
This is different from putting text on screen normally referred to as an “INSERT” “ANGLE ON.” This is represented by the words “COMPUTER SCREEN” below.
Structure of a Super
No matter how you write your supers they are always 100% capitalized.
There are several ways to use a super. Examples are below:
” SOUTH AMERICA, 1944″
When using supers its best to put a description beforehand as a description always comes after the Slug line.
When to use a Super?
You use super to convey necessary information when the story flips back and forth from location time and date. Only use this if it’s absolutely necessary. How do you know you need a super? Put yourself int he readers’ position. Ask would I be lost? Movies that might need a super are:
- Time traveler films
- Films from a particular time period (Not the current one)
- Parts of the film that have the characters travel to different locations
The famous actor Charlie Chapman used supers in his silent films only when there was no other option.
But those were silent films made with the first generation of cameras. Think about the filmmaking techniques that can be used instead of supers before using one.