Technical Terms | Script Analysis


major units of the script basically covering the beginning, middle and end of the story action – each act is also structured in a beginning, middle and an end


a script in which fact or fiction is translated into a presentation suitable for filming – all scripts are adaptions of stories


scene/shot immediately following a dramatic scene where the character and/or viewer „digest“ emotionally the impact of the dramatic scene


any and all details of appearance and behavior devised by a scriptwriter to define a given story person as an individual

climax | culmination

the point in a screenplay at which the conflict between desire and danger reaches its ultimate peak; in other words: the highest and turning point


the interplay between forces seeking to attain mutually incompatible goals

denouement – unknotting

the tying up of a film’s loose ends following the climax and resolution: here questions are answered, lingering tensions released, an ending given an emotionally satisfying tone …


the tendency of viewers to share the experiences of characters as when they tense at some threat jeopardizing a person in a picture …

to establish

to make clear any element important to understanding and appreciation and that element’s relationship to other elements in the film


introduction of information necessary for understanding a film story: who, when, where, under what circumstances

final impact


master scene script

a script which details the action and dialogue of a film, but by and large does NOT include shooting instructions or camera angles or break down the action shot by shot; it is written in scenes, each of them having a headline: EXTERIOR (or INTERIOR) PLACE, DAY (or NIGHT)

Script | screenplay is: The film on paper.

obligatory scene

a film’s climactic confrontation, the elements for which have been planted, a scene the viewers wait for

planting and pay off

planting is an apparently offhand establishment of an idea, character, property, costume, set, etc. to be used more significantly later in the film; a pay off makes significant use of something previously planted, added to the participation of the viewer and allows poetic metaphors to be expressed; if plants don’t get paid off the audience will be frustrated and disappointed


a situation so offsetting and emotionally disturbing for the main character that he is motivated to take action and change the situation; established predicament opens the main tension; no predicament – no drama


provokes the awakening of something in the unconscious, the vision or convictions of the writer; simply connected to the open-ended question: “What would happen if…?”; it is either part of the film action or it happens before the storytelling opens the drama

scene of preparation

a scene leading to a dramatic scene (collision, confrontation, revelation, culmination, twist, etc.) preparing the viewer by the use of atmosphere either directly or by contraction

scene of revelation

a scene in which a character finds out what was previously a mistery – and, as a rule, the viewer has discovered before


the most important unit of a film which allows to tell the story dramatically; frequently consisting of more than one shot

Screenplay | scrIPT

is the film on paper –> master scene script


a unit of action and conflict consisting of subsequent scenes and united by an objective that is or isn’t reached at its end; usually a sequence is centered around one big event (arrival, wedding, moving out, etc.)


the basic unit of a film, usually part of a scene

step | event

any action which pushes the protagonist a step forward to reach the overall goal during his/her journey; to identify steps one need to know the protagonist and the overall goal which he/she will achieve or fail to achieve at the end

subsidiary character

a character involved in the main action by pursuing his own objective in a substory


a story within-a-story, generally involving subordinate characters and developed in terms of action parallel to that of the main action thematically related to it (variation, counterpoint, etc.)


a brief outline of a proposed film’s content

theme (final impact)

simply spoken, it is the principal subject, main aim why a story is being told; it becomes the resulting effect of the finished work and it gives the whole its unity; it is the final effect, the resulting impact that the audience should feel when the picture is over; and it influences more than any other element the positive or negative word-of-mouth recommendation

transition scene or sequence

the bridge from one dramatic scene to another or from one sequence to another



a semi-dramatized, present-tense narrative, preliminary structuring of a script with inevitable dialogue in reported speech: a text which details the complete action, no shooting instructions at all


an unexpected, yet believable change in the direction of action, caused either by the change of mind of a character or by an intrusion of new circumstances in the scene