A Scene Heading includes all of the important information for the scene that follows, allowing the users reading it to easily understand and visualize the “where” and “when” details of the scene.
It will always include the following information - INT./EXT. LOCATION - TIME OF DAY and will be written in all caps. Celtx will indicate your Scene Headings with a gray highlight while you’re writing, but this will not appear when you download or print your script.
*As a reminder, your Scene Heading is specific to the story you’re writing - it’s not necessarily the same as where your scene will actually be shot.
INT. (interior) indicates that your scene will take place indoors, while EXT. (exterior) indicates it will take place outdoors.
INT./EXT. Indicates that your scene will take place both indoors and outdoors, but this should be used sparingly and works best for scenes that are moving quickly and consistently between inside and outside. Most often, you’ll have one scene heading for the part of your script that takes place outdoors, and then another for when they transition inside.
Pro tip! If you’re unsure of whether your scene takes place indoors or outdoors, the best thing to do is consider what your character will see if they look up! If it’s sky (blue or otherwise!), use EXT. If it’s just about anything else, it’s most likely INT.
This will be specific to your scene, and while it should be precise enough that the reader understands exactly where the scene will take place, it should not include too much detail. Additional details should be included in the description (or ACTION - more to come on this) of a scene.
Another accepted format (when used logically) is the use of Master and Secondary scene headings. A Master scene heading must be used first, and will include the overall location of your scene:
A Secondary scene heading can be used if part of the scene takes place within a specific room/area within the Master location:
You shouldn’t use commas in a scene heading to differentiate between master and secondary locations.
TIME OF DAY
This indicates whether the scene takes place during the DAY or during the NIGHT,
allowing the reader to understand whether it’ll be light or dark during the scene.
Alternatively, some writers will use MORNING, EVENING, DUSK, DAWN, or LATER. While these are technically accepted formats, it’s recommended to stick to DAY/NIGHT unless one of the specific terms above is pertinent to the scene. For example, if your story takes place over the period of a single day, it’s likely you’ll want to use MORNING, DAY, EVENING, NIGHT, etc. to show the transition of time throughout that single day.
LATER can be used if your characters are in the same location but you want to indicate that some time has passed. However, as with most script elements, it’s recommended that this is used sparingly.
Specific dates and times should be included in the description (or ACTION) of a scene, normally immediately following a scene heading.
Next Up >> Action