How to Write a Dream Sequence in a Screenplay
Screenplays are written in a certain style. Screenplays consist only of what can be seen or heard on the screen. There are specific techniques used to convey information in every screenplay. In some cases, figuring out how to convey some elements can be tricky. The dream sequence is one of those elements. You can easily learn how to write a dream sequence in a screenplay that will let script readers and directors know your characters are dreaming without interrupting the flow of the main scene.
Write the dream sequence as its own scene heading. Here's an example:
EXT. RESTAURANT - DAY (DREAM SEQUENCE)
Write the action and dialogue for the scene here, then end it by switching to a new scene heading.
Write a dream sequence within a scene by writing:
DREAM SEQUENCE as a shot on its own line.
Write the action and dialogue of the scene as you would write any other part of your screenplay. End the dream sequence by writing:
END DREAM SEQUENCE in all capitals with no period.
Write the dream sequence as a series of shots of the dream sequence consists of nothing but a series of images. Format a dream sequence as a series of shots the same way you would format a standard series of shots, except note that we're in a dream sequence.
SERIES OF SHOTS (DREAM SEQUENCE)
1) First action scene in sequence
2) Second action scene in sequence
3) Third action scene in sequence
END SERIES OF SHOTS (DREAM SEQUENCE)
You can also end a dream sequence in a series of shots by switching to a new scene heading.
Write your dream sequence using any of these methods and you will be able to convey the information to readers, directors, and actors without disrupting the flow of your screenplay.
Carl Hose is the author of the anthology "Dead Horizon" and the the zombie novella "Dead Rising." His work has appeared in "Cold Storage," "Butcher Knives and Body Counts," "Writer's Journal," and "Lighthouse Digest.". He is editor of the "Dark Light" anthology to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities.